WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yucaipa Companies, a premier investment firm owned and run by Ron Burkle, today announced that it has purchased a significant equity stake in Relativity Media, a full-fledged film distribution company, television production company, sports agency, Internet and interactive media company. Yucaipa’s equity investment follows the successful close of debt financings led by Colbeck Capital, a strategic lender run by Jason Colodne and Jason Beckman, and funded by Burkle.
This investment comes on the heels of the studio’s first year as a full-fledged distribution company. During the past 12 months, the studio has had unprecedented success with two number one opening films; marking Relativity as the only mini-major to achieve such a milestone. It is one of the few mini-majors to have had two films exceed 30 million dollars in domestic box office in their opening weekend.
Over the past year the studio has enjoyed the success of films such as Limitless, The Fighter and most recently Immortals, which has just broken $230 million in worldwide box office receipts, the highest R-rated action opening weekend in 2011, and the third highest opening weekend for 2011 R-rated films.
Next up on its slate are the much anticipated releases of Act of Valor, presented by Tom Clancy, the first ever film to star active duty Navy SEALs, and Mirror Mirror, a retelling of Snow White starring Julia Roberts, made as a film for the entire family. Mirror Mirror, recently tested to an unprecedented 91% in the top two boxes of definite recommend and 89 percent definite recommend by parents.
During the past year Relativity’s television business, Relativity Real, has also grown significantly with over 60 shows on-air or as pilots, making them one of the biggest unscripted studios, as well as a significant player in the scripted space, with 5 scripted shows this year alone.
Relativity’s wholly owned subsidiary, Rogue, has grown its music, sports and internet arms. Rogue Sports agency now represents dozens of NBA players including A’mare Stoudemire; its music division produced over 20 soundtracks, and the Rogue Network now ranking in the top 10 music and movie networks by Comscore, with over 40 million unique visitors.
“We’ve spent a lot of time analyzing the media industry, and have looked at virtually every asset out there,” said Ron Burkle. “Relativity makes sense. They run their business like a business, focusing on profitability, Internal Rates of Return and the factors that many Hollywood based businesses don’t focus on. Their platform and foundation is unparalleled, and I believe together we will be able to grow the business in a manner which continues to evolve the industry and sets new benchmarks,” Mr. Burkle further stated.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Ron and Yucaipa as a partner,” said Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO and founder of Relativity. “To have a partner like Ron, who has such a tremendous depth and breadth of business experience, both inside and outside of the industry, is exactly what Relativity needed to grow to the next level. He is one of the most well respected business managers and investors in the world, and I look forward to a long and profitable partnership.”
About Yucaipa Companies
The Yucaipa Companies is a premier investment firm that has established a record of fostering economic value through the growth and responsible development of companies. Since its founding in 1986, the firm has completed mergers and acquisitions valued at more than $30 billion. As an investor, Yucaipa works with management to strategically reposition businesses and implement operational improvements, resulting in value creation for investors. www.Yucaipaco.com
About Relativity Media
Relativity Media is a next-generation studio engaged in multiple aspects of entertainment, including full-scale film and television production and distribution, the co-financing of major studio film slates, music publishing, sports management and digital media. Additionally, the company makes strategic partnerships with, and investments in, media and entertainment-related companies and assets.
To date, Relativity has produced, distributed, and/or structured financing for more than 200 motion pictures. Released films have accumulated more than $17 billion in worldwide box office receipts. Relativity’s recent films include: Immortals, Tower Heist, Bridesmaids, Hop, Limitless, Anonymous, Machine Gun Preacher, Cowboys & Aliens, Battle: Los Angeles, Season of The Witch, Little Fockers, The Fighter, The Social Network, Salt, Despicable Me, Grown Ups, Dear John, It’s Complicated, Couples Retreat and Zombieland. Upcoming films for Relativity include: Haywire, Act of Valor, The Raven, Mirror Mirror, 21 Jump Street, American Reunion, and The Bourne Legacy. Thirty-eight of the company’s films have opened to No. 1 at the box office. Relativity films have earned 60 Oscar® nominations, including nods for The Fighter, The Social Network, The Wolfman, A Serious Man, Frost/Nixon, Atonement, American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma. Sixty-two of Relativity’s films have each generated more than $100 million in worldwide box-office receipts.
Relativity also owns and operates Rogue, a company that specializes in films targeted to the 13-25 year old audience, and RogueLife, Relativity’s digital studio which is developing original content for the Web and creating sustainable online platforms and communities. RelativityREAL, Relativity’s television arm, has 67 projects in production, including 17 original series that are currently airing or will air in the upcoming television season including Police Women for TLC, Coming Home for Lifetime and The Great Food Truck Race for Food Network. For additional information, please visit www.relativitymedia.com.