Legendary Expanding its Coin Coffers (Exclusive)
As the ink dries on its new agreement with Universal, Legendary Entertainment is closing a deal to bring more money to its fresh partnership.
Thomas Tull’s production shingle is upsizing its JP Morgan credit facility from $500 million to as much as $700 million, giving Legendary a little more financial muscle for its slate of fanboy fare, according to sources close to the transaction. The three-year borrowing-based structure is backed by studio ultimates and a $100 million-plus library credit.
Legendary declined to comment on the deal, which insiders say will close “imminently.” JP Morgan has a policy of not commenting on ongoing transactions.
Warner Bros. will release “Godzilla” and “Seventh Son” next year, after Legendary begins its new partnership with Universal. The pair announced their agreement July 10. Legendary’s current deal with Warner Bros. covers films greenlit through the end of 2013. Going forward, Legendary will aim to produce two to three tentpoles a year as it increasingly focuses on television and licensing (Legendary recently hired former Warner Bros. TV prexy Bruce Rosenblum to help expand its TV division).
Tull began the upsizing process before he had closed his deal with Uni. Lenders normally like the security of major studio distribution before agreeing to put money into a deal, but in this case, they weren’t concerned: Banks had confidence Tull would find a replacement for Warner Bros. and were further encouraged by his proven track record for raising equity (Legendary closed a deal for $443 million in December).
Since May, Warner Bros. has released Legendary pics “Pacific Rim,” “The Hangover Part III” and “Man of Steel,” the latter of was the clear winner of Legendary’s pics this summer, with more than $630 million at the global box office.
The move gives Legendary that much more money to draw from to finance its slate of fanboy fare.