UPDATE with Ryan Kavanaugh quote: U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles said today he will approve Relativity Media’s plan to exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as it assures him that it has locked up $80 million in additional funding — as well as the involvement of Kevin Spacey and his business partner Dana Brunetti to run the studio.
“I would be comfortable entering an order that would confirm the plan” once the terms are met enabling him to rule that the plan meets the legal test of feasibility, the judge says.
“We’re just lucky that in America we have a system like this that if you make some mistakes it lets you come back,” Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanuagh said after the court session. “And we’re not going to make the same mistakes twice.”
Relativity lawyer Richard Wynne said the company expects to be able to fulfill Wiles’ requirements by Febraury 17, when another hearing is scheduled.
Spacey and Burnetti’s deal is key. Wiles says he needs to know “who the management will be, not what it might be.”
Last month, Relativity said in a press release that it had an “agreement to acquire Trigger Street Productions” that also would make Spacey and Brunetti the studio’s chairman and president, respectively. But in fact, the company told the court today, the pact will simply involve “some licensing” with the duo taking the jobs. They apparently don’t have a contract to show Wiles.
Relativity tried to assure the judge they would not back out by noting testimony that the duo has already been working with the studio, and that Spacey made a video — shown yesterday in court — urging Wiles to approve the studio’s exit plan.
“Your Honor can take a great deal of comfort that objective third parties have put their reputations [on the line] that they believe in this,” one of Relativity’s lawyers said. “That’s about as much as we can do.”
Wiles responded that “it’s not my job to approve a plan that other people are comfortable with. I approve a plan that I’m comfortable with.”
He says a firm commitment with the Trigger Street partners is important because Relativity’s testimony indicated that “the entire ability to be in the business was pointing in the direction of Mr. Spacey and Mr. Brunetti.”
In a statement released by Relativity after the hearing, Kavanaugh called the decision “an important milestone in Relativity’s path to emerging from Chapter 11 as a stronger, well-capitalized media company that is well positioned for growth and success. We sincerely appreciate the support of our financial partners and creditors, as well as the unrelenting dedication of our employees, which together have allowed us to successfully complete this process. We have a phenomenal management team in place, and we can’t wait to create Relativity’s new future.”