The name Winchester Entertainment PLC is set to disappear, it was confirmed yesterday as further details of the merger between Winchester and Ed Pessman and John Schmidt's ContentFilm inc. were announced.
Subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 26 March, the new enlarged entity is to be called ContentFilm PLC. It will be traded on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.
As part of its expansion, the company has raised £8.5m on the AIM as "working capital." It has also secured a three-year £10.8m revolving credit facility underwritten by J.P. Morgan Chase.
"It was [about] sheer critical mass - creating a bigger company that can finance films, produce films, sell films and build libraries," chairman designate Alton Irby said, explaining the restructuring. He stated that Winchester's Cobalt subsidiary is also now likely to be "phased out" of existence. Content is committed to preserving Winchester's theatrical distribution arm, under the "Content" brand name. It will also keep a UK production arm.
Pressman and Schmidt will be chief executives of the new entity. Rodney Payne will be film finance director. Content has a first look deal with Sunflower, the production outfit run by Pressman and Terrence Malick. Winchester's sales arm will be subsumed within Content's sales operation and will be run by Jamie Carmichael.
ContentFilm PLC plans both to produce and distribute its own in-house movies and to finance and sell projects from third-party producers.
The aim now, Irby said, is to grow the business "organically and through acquisition...we have a very strong balance sheet. We think we can acquire other businesses using off-balance sheet financing, not using our own equity. We don't expect to be going back to the public market for any additional capital in the near future."