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Ex-Relativity Media President Michael Joe Leaves Elliott

Mike Fleming

Relativity Media’s key backer Elliott Management Corporation has announced the departure of Michael Joe, the former president of Relativity who was plucked from that post by Elliott to watch its investments with Ryan Kavanaugh. Joe had little to do because Elliott has stopped future funding of entertainment industry ventures. How this factors into the future of Relativity Media and Elliott remains to be seen. Here is the announcement:

New York, NY (January 4, 2012) — Elliott Management Corporation and Michael Joe announced today that, in early 2012, he will be leaving the firm to pursue a new opportunity. In his most recent role, Mr. Joe helped oversee Elliott’s investment in Relativity Media and Elliott’s slate financing deal with Universal. Prior to arriving at Elliott, Mr. Joe was President of Relativity Media.

“I cannot think of a better environment to have profoundly expanded my knowledge and understanding of the private fund management business,” said Michael Joe. “However, it became increasingly apparent that on a personal and professional level, my passion is to be an active participant within the media and entertainment industry. I am grateful to the Elliott team and wish them the best in their future endeavors.”

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TOLDJA! Relativity Closes Big Acquisition Deal For Navy SEAL Movie ‘Act Of Valor’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Relativity Media has closed its deal for Act of Valor, as Deadline revealed earlier today. Press release is below our original break on the deal. Relativity has dated the film for 2012, so I suspect it will be Presidents’ Day weekend in late February.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 1:27 PM: In what will shape up as arguably the biggest money paid for a finished film with an unknown cast, Relativity Media is finalizing a deal where Ryan Kavanaugh’s company will pay a $13 million minimum guarantee and a $30 million P&A commitment for Act of Valor, a mission movie involving Navy SEALs. The film’s being plotted for either a Veterans Day weekend release in November of a Presidents Day release in February.

The film will be the first movie about Navy SEALs to come out since that group killed Osama bin Laden; others SEAL films are percolating including a Kathryn Bigelow-directed drama about the actual hunt for bin Laden that Sony Pictures acquired. In Act of Valor, the half dozen lead roles were played by active-duty Navy SEALs, and the military was behind a picture that was shot under the radar. The picture was scripted by Kurt Johnstad (300) and directed by the Bandito Brothers’ Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh.

I’d heard that the picture was gaining buzz after it was given recruited screenings over the past couple weeks at the Arclight and in New York, and distributors began bidding. … Read More »

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RYAN GOES OFF THE RAILS! Kavanaugh Trying To Sell Elliott’s Stake In Relativity When Investment Group Isn’t Selling

EXCLUSIVE: I fear that Ryan Kavanaugh is having a nervous breakdown. I’ve just confirmed with Elliott Associates that their stake in his Relativity Media is not for sale. ”Elliott is not selling. They are not shopping,” the investment group told me exclusively just now as an update their reining in Relativity. Interesting that Ryan today has gone public about buying something that is not for sale. I have learned that Kavanaugh does have a call option where he can buy Elliott’s stake but the investment group would have to agree and it would tack on a sizeable premium making the purchase price “a huge amount of money”, insiders tell me. And no one sane would bankroll him to do that.

Also, I’m told not to believe any of the dollar amounts Kavanaugh is claiming about Elliott’s stake in his company “because they’re off the wall”. Indeed, Kavanaugh himself over the past year has alternately confirmed and denied just to me that Elliott has invested $1.2 billion in Relativity and also a number half that. Which is why trying to speak to Ryan is always such a frustrating experience for myself and the other business press: he rarely tells the truth about anything involving his company. Instead, Kavanaugh today went to the last naive journalist who’ll believe his nonsense (that is, in addition to Variety which just tributed him) and pretended he was taking charge of his company and jettisonning Elliott. ”He doesn’t like that they are taking a more active role and that [former Relativity Media President] Michael Joe is now the Elliott person that works with Relativity,” my insider explains. “Ryan keeps telling Elliott in 20-30 emails that because of what they did he can’t get any business done.” Read More »

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