Access Entertainment, owned by Len Blavatnik, has acquired James Packer’s stake in RatPac Entertainment. The deal makes Blavatnik partner with RatPac principal Brett Ratner and gives him co-ownership of RatPac’s film, TV and documentary business, and a big chunk of the RatPac-Dune venture that helps co-finance Warner Bros’ movie slate.
Ratner will retain his interest in RatPac Entertainment and continue as CEO. He will also become co-chairman alongside Access Entertainment president Danny Cohen, the former Director of BBC Television. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Packer, the son of Aussie media tycoon Kerry Packer, becomes the second major RatPac investor to exit. The new U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin had to divest his stake in the company when he was confirmed for the Trump Administration job. There had been rumblings that Packer and Mnuchin’s stakes were up for grabs.
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In 2013, RatPac partnered with Dune Entertainment on a multi-year motion picture co-financing arrangement with Warner Bros for up to 75 pictures which have included Gravity, The LEGO Movie, Annabelle, American Sniper, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, Suicide Squad, The LEGO Batman Movie, Kong: Skull Island and the upcoming Wonder Woman, Justice League and Stephen King’s It.
RatPac also partners with New Regency with films including Oscar Best Picture winner Birdman and The Revenant.
It’s a major move into the U.S. entertainment business for Blavatnik’s Access, which currently has a drama financing venture with BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point, a 25% stake in international TV outfit Bad Wolf, and a development slate deal with House Productions.
“Warner Bros. is one of the great Hollywood Studios,” Blavatnik said in a release announcing the deal. “I have great respect for their leadership and am delighted to be partnering with Kevin Tsujihara and the studio alongside the unique talent of Brett Ratner. Together we will build on RatPac’s strategic partnership with Warner Bros.”
Said Ratner: “I am thrilled to be in partnership with Len and Danny. Len and I have shared the same vision and passion for movies, television and music over the years. Because of his experience and enthusiasm, RatPac Entertainment will be an even more formidable provider of quality entertainment worldwide.”
Packer and Ratner announced the creation of their film development, production and finance company in late 2012. The slate deal with Warner Bros came soon after that covered almost everything outside the studio’s Harry Potter franchise. RatPac has co-financed 67 films, grossing more than $10 billion in worldwide box office.
“Len has an incredible track record launching really successful business ventures, including Access Entertainment,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros’ chairman and CEO.”We’re excited to continue our relationship with Brett and RatPac and look forward to working with Len, Danny and the entire Access team. I’d also like to thank James — he’s been a terrific partner the last three years, having worked with us on a number of key films, including Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and The LEGO Batman Movie.”
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