Maker Studios made major headlines a few years back, in 2014, when it was being courted by some of the biggest names in entertainment. Disney ultimately won the studio with a $500 million offer and some back end incentives built in. But Disney wasn’t actually the largest cash offer bidder at the table: Relativity Media, headed up by Ryan Kavanaugh allegedly offered $900 million outright for the multi channel network. When that bid failed to seal the deal, they next went after George Strompolos’ Fullscreen MCN, offering a reported $350 million for the company. And when that failed as well, they claimed they were going to build their own full-service MCN.
Fast forward to today, when there’s been no sign of that Relativity-made MCN and the company has just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, looking to stave off some $300 million in debt owed to financiers. All too easily, Maker or Fullscreen could have been chopped into scraps to be shared by a collective of businesspeople looking for ways to recoup their lost investment. Not exactly the sort of people you want looking out for the future of your new media operations.
The movie-making company, who famously claimed they could thrive via analysis of the bottom line and making movies that were cost/profit savvy (basically the plot of Moneybag, but for Hollywood), was dragged to death by a string of flops including Movie 43, Earth to Echo and Immortals.
Good call in going with Disney, Maker. You might have made less cash on the upfront, but you’ve got a much more secure dance partner with much deeper pockets for the long term.