EXCLUSIVE: Relativity’s CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is still trying to pull together a group of investors to make a last-ditch offer for the company, but he is dealing in valuations that are high, those with knowledge of the behind the scenes machinations tell Deadline.
His moves are taking place today just after U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles formally approved an incentive plan for key employees, and a separate retention plan for so-called non-insider exployees.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York extended the deadline for Relativity Media bids to this evening, ahead of an auction scheduled for Thursday. Some 30 to 40 potential buyers were cleared to look at the original books, but only a handful of players appeared serious about entering the fray. None of those still in the game have been qualified yet by the Bankruptcy Court. It plans to review the auction results on Monday, with a sale scheduled to close on October 20.
No bidders thus far have matched or exceeded the $250 million offer from a group of creditors known in the case as Stalking Horse Bidders. But one financial mind says that since the bids are not binding yet, no entity has an incentive to make its best bid ahead of the auction.
About five entities want the TV arm, which is being valued at between $50 million-$75 million, sources say. The library has been valued at another $50 million or so.
One scenario that is being talked about in financial circles: Anchorage Capital Partners — which has about $100 million invested into Relativity — could take over and then fold the TV portion into MGM. Anchorage then could sell the film assets it doesn’t want. But this is, of course, very pre-mature.
The hedge fund, which was founded by in 2003 by former Goldman Sachs players, owns about a 33% stake in MGM and bought at a discount when the studio was faltering and in bankruptcy in 2010. Anchorage now holds the biggest position in the studio and their stake is worth upwards of $700 million, according to published reports.
Relativity executives have good reason to do what they can to attract high bids for the studio. A $1.2 million Key Employee Incentive Plan approved Monday only takes effect if someone offers at least $1 million more than the Stalking Horse bid, or if the executives meet specific performance goals.
Eight are eligible to split as much as $580,122 based on sales. Relativity Television’s Tom Forman and Andrew Marcus can qualify for as much as $655,000 based on a collection of other TV-related metrics.
The judge also authorized a $345,390 pool to retain 71 employees at least until the company is sold.