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'Terminator' to have new owner by January

November 2, 2009 | 12:31 pm

Termsalvation He'll be back, but with a new owner.

An auction for the rights to make new "Terminator" movies will likely be done by January. Representatives for the Halcyon Co., which currently controls the franchise and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, have set their plans to sell off the rights to pay debts and recapitalize their company.

Last month, Halcyon hired FTI Capital Advisors to put the rights up for sale and manage the process. According to Kevin Shultz, senior managing director of FTI, an auction is expected to be held by January at the latest, pending bankruptcy court approval. By later this month, Halcyon may choose a "stalking horse," a potential buyer whose early bid puts it in first position and gives it exclusive access to perform due diligence. Any other company that wanted to buy the "Terminator" rights would then have to outbid the stalking horse.

Sony Pictures and Warner Bros., which distributed May's "Terminator Salvation," are considering bids, according to people close to the companies, as is independent studio Summit Entertainment. However, Shultz said the final buyer may not come from Hollywood, but from the world of private equity.

"There are financial buyers who have expressed strong interest," he said.

Halycon paid $25 million to buy the "Terminator" rights in 2007. In a previous bankruptcy court filing, Halcyon Co-Chief Executive Derek Anderson said he believed they were now worth more than $60 million.

Whoever buys "Terminator" would get rights to make future sequels as well as Halcyon's remaining income from "Salvation," which cost about $200 million to produce and grossed a so-so $371 million worldwide. The fourth movie in the 25-year-old series will be released on DVD in December.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: A scene from "Terminator Salvation." Credit: Warner Bros.