Australian media scion James Packer is getting into the Brett Ratner business. The billionaire will personally back film development, production and finance company, RatPac Entertainment. Ratner and Packer are looking to produce and finance independent films and co-finance “blockbusters” with studio partners. Two projects have been identified to be co-financed, although details have yet to be disclosed. “We intend to build a major independent film company which not only has the ability to fully finance its films, but which also offers creative independence for its filmmakers,” Ratner said in a statement that was short on information. Packer is the chairman of Oz-based gaming and entertainment company Crown Limited. He is the son of the late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer. In October, his Consolidated Media Holdings voted in favor of a $2.1B takeover bid by News Corp.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
The hedge fund which bought Australia’s Nine Network and magazine group from James Packer for $A5.5 billion in 2007 and has since struggled to pay down the debt may have find a lifeline- although it may be forced to take a sizable haircut. Hollywood mogul Harry Sloan is teaming with private equity group TPG to launch a $3 billion bid for Nine Entertainment Co., according to The Australian Financial Review. Nine’s owner, CVC Asia Pacific, is under pressure to do a deal as it is obliged to repay $2.8 billion in senior debt in February 2013. It also owes about $1 billion to mezzanine or second-tier lenders led by a Europe-based Goldman Sachs fund. The paper said TPG managing partner Ben Gray met with Nine chief executive David Gyngell and other senior management in Sydney this week. Nine comprises east coast free-to-air TV stations, ACP Magazines, the Ticketek agency, the Allphones Arena in Sydney and a 50 per cent share in NineMSN. In May the Fin Review reported Sloan had met with CVC Australia boss Adrian McKenzie to discuss a proposal whereby Sloan’s Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. would raise the capital to pay back Nine’s senior lenders and take a controlling stake in a refinanced Nine listed on the Nasdaq.