The finalizing of the agreement first disclosed in November adds another notable film library to Raven’s collection of assets. In 2015, it teamed with AMBI Media Group to buy the catalog of Exclusive Media Group. That agreement included rights (including certain sequel and remake rights) to a diverse group of 400-plus titles, including Begin Again, Cruel Intentions, Donnie Darko, Memento, Rush, The Skulls and Sliding Doors.
“We are excited to add Open Road to our portfolio of media and entertainment investments,” said James Masciello, Principal and Portfolio Manager of Raven. “We pride ourselves on our industry focus and have already seen great successes with our 2015 acquisition of the Exclusive Media film library as well as our financing of select independent films. We look forward to including the Open Road library in our larger portfolio of films and will continue to pursue opportunities to expand the size and scope of our platform.”
Today’s announcement officially closes the book on Open Road, which launched in 2011 as a co-venture between major exhibitors AMC and Regal. Its run featured numerous critical and commercial successes, including The Nut Job, The Grey, Killer Elite, Marshall and Nightcrawler. In 2018, the company went into bankruptcy, barely a year after being acquired by a media company run by Donald Tang, a Shanghai-born former investment banker. Tang Media Partners merged Open Road with Stuart Ford’s IM Global, rebranding the new entity Global Road.
Global Road pledged to pump $1 billion into production and distribution, with 15 annual releases by 2020. That vision was dashed just months into the effort, after the company released a small handful of commercial non-starters such as Hotel Artemis. About 100 senior staffers exited the company last year, with a few dozen other workers staying on through the bankruptcy.
Apart from its library deals, Raven has also financed independent films. The private equity firm is a backer of Sculptor Media, and Masciello is among the producers of Sculptor’s thriller The Importance of Blood.
In the live theater business, Raven also has a majority stake in David Ian Productions, a producer, promoter and tour operator of licensed musicals staged around the world. DIP’s credits include international productions of Annie, The Bodyguard, Cats, Evita, Chicago, Grease and The Sound of Music.
Representing Raven in the Open Road acquisition were teams of specialists led by Robert Sherman at DLA Piper; Nathan Haynes at Greenberg Traurig; and James Null at Eversheds Sutherland.
Open Road was advised on the legal front by Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, with FTI Consulting serving as its financial advisor.