Bloomberg: Paul Barbagallo, April 18, 2017
Blavatnik Buys Stake in Venture Behind Warner Bros. Hit Films
Billionaire Len Blavatnik deepened his ties to Hollywood, acquiring a stake in film and TV company RatPac Entertainment, which helped finance hit Warner Bros. films like “The Lego Movie” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Through his investment company, Access Industries, Blavatnik bought Australian casino executive James Packer’s stake in RatPac, giving him ownership of its movie, TV and documentary business, according to a statement Tuesday. Founder Brett Ratner will retain his interest in RatPac and remain chief executive officer. He will also become co-chairman with Danny Cohen, president of Access’s entertainment division. Terms weren’t provided.
As part of the deal, Blavatnik will own a portion of RatPac’s financing venture with Dune Capital Management LP, the investment firm founded by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Warner Bros. received $450 million in funding from RatPac-Dune in 2013 to fund as many as 75 films, including “The Conjuring 2,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “Suicide Squad.”
While Blavatnik built the bulk of his $18.7 billion fortune through investments in chemicals and energy, he’s been increasingly drawn to the entertainment industry since acquiring Warner Music Group Corp. for $3.3 billion in 2011.
Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment, a division of Access Industries started in May 2016, has a financing venture for TV shows with BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point, a 25 percent stake in TV production company Bad Wolf and a film-slate deal with House Productions. Access Industries also runs DAZN, a sports streaming startup, and holds a stake in Deezer, a music-streaming service.
Access Entertainment was represented in the RatPac transaction by Sidley Austin LLP, and RatPac was represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.