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Control of Relativity's co-financing deal with Universal shifts to Elliott Management

June 1, 2011 |  6:17 pm

Relativity Media's fund used to co-finance movies at Universal Pictures will now be controlled by the independent studio's backer, Elliott Management, the companies announced late Wednesday.

In the latest shift of control between the two firms, Elliott is taking over the fund, called Beverly 2, that Relativity has used to co-finance dozens of films produced and released by Universal since 2008. The agreement ends in 2015.

Michael Joe, a former president of Relativity who moved to Elliott last month to more closely manage its minority investment in the independent studio, will oversee the co-financing fund. He was previously executive vice president of Universal and is close to many executives there.

Though it will no longer manage the co-financing fund, Relativity will continue to get a producing credit and fee on Universal movies that draw on Beverly 2. Additionally, Relativity Chief Executive Ryan Kavanaugh will continue to receive an executive producer credit on the pictures.

The shift comes as Relativity's move into financing and releasing its own pictures has increasingly put the company at odds with Universal. The two studios both have Snow White movies set for release next year and have been shifting the release dates of the pictures in hopes of gaining an advantage over the other by coming out first.

When asked several hours before the press release was issued Wednesday whether management of the Universal co-financing deal was moving to Elliott under Joe's control, a spokesman for Relativity replied: "This is not accurate."

The announcement also noted that Elliott has agreed to invest additional capital into Relativity to help fund its slate of self-financed films to be released this year. Elliott and Relativity declined to specify the amount.

-- Ben Fritz


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