Hedge Fund Sues Fortress For Hollywood Dealing

Feb 9 2012 | 3:53am ET

It's hedge fund vs. hedge fund in a battle over movie studio Relativity Media—and neither is the hedge fund most closely associated with the filmmaker.

Aramid Entertainment Fund yesterday sued both Relativity, whose biggest backer until recently was Elliott Associates, and Fortress Investment Group. According to Aramid, Fortress used confidential information it obtained during talks with Aramid to buy up Relativity debt, and then used its position as Relativity's biggest creditor to wipe out Aramid's investment.

The breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles state court, alleges that Fortress never made an offer for Aramid's mezzanine, or Class B, loans to Relativity. But it did buy $226.7 million in Class A debt from Citigroup for half its face value, and then used its position as the majority owner of both classes of notes to strike a deal with Sony, which had a film financing agreement with Relativity, and with Relativity itself to cap payments to investors, effectively leading Aramid with nothing. For its trouble, Fortress earned at least $96.1 million, according to Aramid, and paid Relativity $14.5 million to sign off on the deal.

"This is one of the greatest heist stories ever told in the movie business," Aramid said. The hedge fund estimated its losses at no less than $44 million.

Citi, which was under federal government pressure to dump the Relativity debt, was not named in the suit, nor was Sony.


In Depth

Malik: The Science of Deal Sourcing 201

Aug 27 2015 | 5:35pm ET

Deal sourcing is understandably a hot topic among private equity firms because it...

Lifestyle

Rolling Art Advisors Marketing Collectible Car Fund As Uncorrelated Alternative

Aug 27 2015 | 6:47pm ET

A new fund is trying to provide investors with greater access to an emerging asset...

Guest Contributor

Agecroft Partners: Hedge Fund Industry Assets to increase $250B by Summer 2016

Aug 11 2015 | 11:29am ET

Assets will continue to flow into the hedge fund industry despite long-standing...

 

Editor's Note