At the 11th hour, the studio exercises its right to match a bid of about $290 million for the Brett Ratner-led library — despite not getting major rights associated with the films.
With its Jan. 2 move to buy the RatPac-Dune library, Warner Bros. may have severed its final tie with disgraced producer-director Brett Ratner. But did the studio spend more than it needed to?
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. paid about $290 million for the RatPac-Dune stake in some 76 WB movies including such hits as Wonder Woman, Dunkirk and American Sniper. Several banking-world sources call that a high price tag considering that there are said to be no lucrative rights associated with the films and that the library represents a cash-flow stream only.
“It seems at a minimum that they paid full price,” says Wall Street analyst Hal Vogel. “We don’t know what the rights are, and my guess is that this is all related to the industry’s fantasy that streaming will be a bonanza. Not so fast, in my opinion.”
Vogel adds that despite the fact that Warners has a “sugar daddy” in new owner AT&T being willing to throw around cash, “my bet is that Warner Bros./AT&T will in the end be disappointed by the results.” Adds MKM Partners’ Eric Handler, “The problem in trying to assess the value is, we will never know how many deals there are struck globally and how much of the library is monetized.”
In late December, Vine Alternative Investments and CEO James Moore appeared to be the winning bidder for the RatPac library, the end result of a $450 million investment vehicle formed in 2013 by Ratner, Australian billionaire James Packer and now Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Packer later sold his share to Ukraine-born billionaire Len Blavatnik).