Starz Film Unit’s Financing in the Can

Overture Films Getting Credit Facility from JP Morgan, CIT Group; Funding and Equity from Liberty Media

Starz locked up a financing package for subsidiary Overture Films.

The funding package includes a $225 million credit facility led by JP Morgan and CIT Group and $100 million of mezzanine financing and equity from Starz parent Liberty Media. The funds will be used to finance films produced by Overture Films, a studio launched in 2006 with the goal to produce, acquire and distribute 8-12 new films each year with production budgets in the $15 million-$25 million range.

"This agreement fulfills our goal of providing Overture the full financial backing it needs to produce and acquire films within the parameters of their business plan,” Starz executive vice president and chief financial officer Glenn Curtis said in a statement. “We look forward to a long string of great movies from Overture."

The film studio will take advantage of the distribution channels available under the Starz umbrella, including the Starz and Encore premium-cable channels and the Starz Home Entertainment DVD business acquired in 2006 from IDT Telecommunications, giving the young studio plenty of leverage in acquiring new films and attracting talent to home-grown productions.

Among the titles already in Overture’s stable are Mad Money (Queen Latifah, Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes), Righteous Kill (Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino) and Traitor (Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce).

"Liberty and Starz have proven to be the perfect long-term strategic partners Overture needed," Overture CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement. "Overture has a unique competitive advantage with complete film financing and fully integrated distribution in all media worldwide firmly in place.”