Hollywood financier plots London IPO premiere

Business & Economy 02 Jun 2017
Hollywood financier plots London IPO premiere

Hollywood financier plots London IPO premiere

A provider of 'completion bonds' to Hollywood movies has hired bankers to float it on the London stock market, Sky News learns.

Image: Film Finances Inc's credits include La La Land

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

A movie financing company with credits including the Hollywood hits La La Land and Nocturnal Animals is plotting a blockbuster premiere on the London stock market that will value it at several hundred million pounds.

Sky News has learnt that Film Finances Inc, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, has begun talks with top City investors about a flotation expected to take place during the summer.

Liberum Capital, the investment bank, has been appointed to oversee the listing.

Sources said on Thursday that Film Finances Inc, which provides financiers with an assurance that film projects get completed on time and budget, had been planning a London flotation for several months.

So-called completion bonds have become increasingly common in the film industry, and have seen growing demand in countries such as China in recent years.

Among the other projects that Film Finances Inc has been involved in is Deepwater Horizon, which starred Mark Wahlberg in a depiction of the events leading to the fatal oil rig explosion in 2010 that almost crippled BP.

It also helped to finance A Monster Calls, the cast of which included Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver, and Sicario, a thriller featuring Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro.

According to its website, Film Finances Inc was set up in 1950, during a period when film producers were finding it difficult to borrow money because they could not offer investors a guarantee that the project would be completed.

If it does complete the initial public offering, Film Finances Inc would join a relatively small band of companies – led by Entertainment One Group – quoted on the London Stock Exchange which have a major presence in Hollywood.

Entertainment One also counts La La Land – which won a string of Academy Awards this year, but was mistakenly named as Best Picture during the Oscars ceremony in February – among its distribution credits.

Key figures at Film Finances Inc include Steve Ransohoff, who has been with the company for more than 25 years and became co-president and co-chairman in 2008.

A more precise valuation, or the amount of new money that Film Finances Inc would seek to raise from a listing, was unclear on Thursday.

Film Finances Inc could not be reached for comment, while Liberum declined to comment.

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