Open Road Fetches Stalking-Horse Bid In Runup To Bankruptcy Auction

Open Road Films

Open Road, the latest independent film company to hit the rocks, has received a “stalking-horse” bid of $87.5 million in Delaware bankruptcy court from a buyer identified as “OR Acquisition Co.”

According to court documents, the bid is backed by New York-based private equity firm Raven Capital Management. The firm’s principal, James Masciello, already has some involvement in the film industry. Raven provides financing for Sculptor Media and Masciello is among the producers of its thriller, The Importance of Blood, which was announced over the summer.

A stalking horse effectively sets the bar so that other bidders can’t low-ball the asset. Under bankruptcy rules, representatives of the company to be acquired select the stalking-horse bidder.

A bankruptcy judge in Delaware will weigh in on the bid during a hearing on Thursday. Multiple bidders are expected to take part in the auction for Open Road, which is scheduled for November 7.

Donald Tang’s Tang Media Partners acquired Open Road in 2017 and merged it with Stuart Ford’s sales outfit IM Global, rebranding the combined entity as Global Road. (The court filings mention only Open Road.)

While the company 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 have awaited their fate as summer has turned to fall.

Operating as Global Road this year, 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 Spotlight, The Nut Job, End of Watch and Chef.

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