Following a period of uncertainly surrounding it financial health, Wild Bunch has announced an injection of capital into its business which should boost confidence at the firm.
Wild Bunch Group AG, the iconic label’s German parent company, has received approval from the Commercial Court of Paris to move forward with a restructuring plan for its European film distribution and sales business. The deal is highlighted by an increase in participation in Wild Bunch by leading shareholder Sapinda that will give it 76% of the film group’s shares.
Under terms of the deal agreed to by the court, SWB Finance B.V., a Sapinda Group company, will assume financial liabilities a total amount of €62.7 million, out of which €36.6 million will be contributed to Wild Bunch equity. It also will provide the Wild Bunch Group with shareholder loans of at least €30 million with the aim to acquire new content.
Wild Bunch also said today as part of a further capital increase that creditors of an 8% corporate bond issued in 2016 with a total nominal amount of €18 million “are to resolve the conversion of all bonds into new shares of Wild Bunch AG.”
The overall restructuring plan is expected to reduce debt by €54.6 million ($63.8 million).
“This is the culmination of a long-term plan which provides the company with enough resources to intensify its strategic evolution,” Wild Bunch AG CEO Vincent Grimond said. He added that “The financial stability offered by Sapinda will enable Wild Bunch to pursue new market opportunities and to build on its considerable assets as a leading pan-European content provider.”
Shareholders will vote on the capital increases during the next general meeting expected in September.
Germany-based parent company Wild Bunch AG was set up when France’s Wild Bunch merged with German film company Senator in 2015. The Sapinda investment fund, overseen by German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst, first got involved in Wild Bunch AG when it financed that merger. Investment in the pan-European distributor waned soon after 2015 but Sapinda has bounced back more recently and in a show of strength it acquired Italian lingerie brand La Perla at the beginning of this year.
The investment will come as welcome relief for the famed European sales and distribution outfit, whose financial stability has been an on-going talking point at major festivals and markets in recent years. Like a number of leading European film companies, Wild Bunch is adjusting to a new reality of fierce competition from streaming platforms and changing viewing habits.
With that in mind, the €30 million it now says it has to play with could go towards movies or potential company acquisitions but a decent portion is likely to go to TV.
The company remains one of the European industry’s stalwarts. The firm had a typically impressive Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d’Or with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters and Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum scooping the Jury Prize. Gaspar Noé’s Directors’ Fortnight entry Climax was another on the slate to make a splash.
Wild Bunch also jointly runs, with MadRiver Pictures, LA-based film sales outfit IMR International, whose slate has included high-profile pics such as Jeff Nichols’ Loving and Pablo Larrain’s Jackie.
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