Davenport Lyons has completed a hat trick of major pieces of film finance deals - two for longstanding client Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
The firm acted for RBS in its financing for producer Al Clark's upcoming feature thriller Blood and Guts, and on the discounting work for RBS for ITV's commission of upcoming game show Oblivious. On Blood and Guts, Davenport advised on the financing of the minimum guarantee - the amount paid to the producers by sales agents Alibi Film International to exploit the film in certain territories. Alibi plans to exploit the film globally, except in Australasia. The size of the minimum guarantee work is confidential. For the work, negotiations by Davenport's financing team started in Cannes in mid-May and ended in June. Investor Australia Film Finance Corporation was involved in the gap financing of the deal, which relates to the initial investment covering most of the film costs. The head of Davenport's media group Leon Morgan acted for the bank, assisted by Sam Tatton-Brown. Tatton-Brown also carried out the discounting work for RBS, worth £1m, for ITV's commission of upcoming game show Oblivious by independent television company Tiger Aspect. Discounting involves the loan of funds to make a film or programme. The lender takes securities for the loan from the payment by the broadcaster to the independent television company for the licence fee. In the third deal, Davenport acted for the investment partnership MFB Films in respect of its £540,000 advance payment to producer Pierre Spengler for his Anglo-Dutch co-production starring Burt Reynolds and Julie Christie. Normally, a partnership buys a film from a producer and gets a 100 per cent write-off against its tax liabilities as a result of tax laws introduced four years ago. The partnership then leases the film back to the producer who has invested the original partnership purchase into a bank, which guarantees the length of the lease. The amount on deposit with the bank is around 80 per cent, while the producer keeps the rest. In this case, MFB loaned the 10 per cent, which amounted to £540,000, to the producer, who is due to repay it as part of his lease of the film. Tatton-Brown finished the hat trick and led the firm's team on this deal as well.