WWE Studios has closed a deal for a revolving credit facility worth $35 million with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The cash infusion will allow WWE Studios to extend and grow a partnership base that already includes Warner Bros., Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox. The studio will become more aggressive in a long-term growth strategy that focuses on mid-size-budget film productions — The Call and Oculus are two examples it has made — and expanding film acquisitions.
“This new relationship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch gives us the opportunity to be involved in higher profile films and expand talent relationships,” said WWE Studios president Michael Luisi. “Our audience craves larger-than-life stories, and we’re looking forward to using this new facility to bring even more of those stories to the big screen.”
WWE Studios, which grew out of the wrestling empire, most recently launched a new label, Erebus Pictures, with media mogul Gene Simmons, which is set to finance and produce elevated horror movies. Upcoming releases include Incarnate with Blumhouse Pictures, the Aaron Eckhart-starrer that features WWE’s Mark Henry, and a sequel to Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery starring Hulk Hogan. Previous pics include the Halle Berry-starrer The Call, which featured WWE wrestling star David Otunga; the Mike Flanagan-directed Oculus; Dead Man Down starring Colin Farrell and featuring WWE Superstar Bad News Barrett; The Marine franchise featuring WWE’s John Cena, The Miz and Summer Rae; and Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, which paired animated versions of WWE stars with the venerable cartoon sleuths.
“WWE Studios is an amazing brand with a history of creating content with fascinating characters and storylines,” said Randy Hua, SVP of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “This new facility will provide WWE Studios the capacity to build on the momentum from the last several years by producing and acquiring more branded and genre films. The various platforms and global reach of both BofAML and WWE creates the perfect collaboration.”
Negotiations were handled by Bradley Buchanan from WWE Studios together with Robert Wyman from Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and by Randy Hua and Daniel Timmons from Bank of America Merrill Lynch as well as Ken Deutsch and Chris Brearton from Latham & Watkins.