Raven Capital Management, which had offered a stalking-horse bid of $87.5 million for Open Road last month, will take control of the company after no other bidders emerged in the company’s bankruptcy proceeding.
The auction in Delaware bankruptcy court originally scheduled for November 7 has been canceled (read the court document here).
The winning bid officially ends the ownership of the company by Donald Tang, whose Tang Media Partners acquired Open Road in 2017 and merged it with Stuart Ford’s sales outfit IM Global. While it had rebranded as Global Road, the court filings refer only to Open Road. Originally a thriving independent film entity, Open Road fell on harder times and never achieved liftoff as Global Road.
Raven’s principal, James Masciello, already has some involvement in the film industry. The private equity firm provides financing for Sculptor Media and Masciello is among the producers of its thriller The Importance of Blood, which was announced over the summer.
As the stalking-horse bidder, Raven effectively set the bar so that other bidders couldn’t low-ball the asset. Under bankruptcy rules, representatives of the company to be acquired select the stalking-horse bidder.
While Global Road had ambitions to funnel close to $1 billion over three years into its production and distribution pipeline, aiming for 15 annual releases by 2020, things began to unravel earlier this year. About 100 senior staffers from the two companies exited a few months ago, and a few dozen remaining employees had to await their fate as summer has turned to fall.
The company put out an progressively unsuccessful string of wide releases, beginning with Show Dogs and culminating in back-to-back misfires Hotel Artemis and A.X.L. Prior to 2018, as Open Road, the company released such notable commercial and critical successes as Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, The Nut Job, End of Watch and Chef.