Cinedigm’s struggle to manage its $63.8 million debt is about to end with a deal, announced today, to sell 20 million shares — most of its equity — for $30 million to Hong Kong based investment firm Bison Holding Company.
In addition, Bison agreed to provide a $10 million loan for working capital and will help to “refinance and retire the remaining debt of the Company,” Cinedigm says.
The company also says it’s in “advanced discussions” to swap debt for equity and cash with holders of its Convertible Senior Notes due in 2035. That should take place at the same time the Bison deal closes.
The Chinese company will end up with two of the seven board seats.
Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk calls this “a transformative event for the Company, solidifying our position as the leading independent content distributor in North America and opening up significant new growth opportunities for our content, OTT channel/services and digital cinema businesses in China, as well as other emerging markets.”
Without the debt burden, Cinedigm can “aggressively pursue” other transactions, he adds.
Bison founder Peixin Xu says the deal will help China, which “remains greatly underserved in terms of content quality and diversity. Through our investment, we will leverage Cinedigm’s content access and distribution capabilities to bring more premium, independent content into the China market.”
He also hopes to “launch Chinese content channels in the North American market. Our long-term goal is to help build Cinedigm into a leading distributor of global content, as well as help the Company unleash the residual value of the digital cinema equipment.”
Cinedigm shareholders will have to vote on the transaction. The company expects that to happen by the end of September.
Cinedigm made its announcement with the release of its earnings for the fiscal year that ended in March. It reported a net loss of $15.5 million, down 63.2% vs the previous year, on revenues of $90.4 million, down 13.5%.
The company began as a distributor of digital cinema, and lately has invested in streaming services including Dove Channel, Docurama, and CONtv.