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Ex-Disney Film Chief Cook Said to Seek $625 Million in Financing

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Dick Cook, former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, is seeking to raise $625 million in equity financing to make and distribute family oriented films, according to a banker briefed on the effort.

Cook and his advisers are soliciting investors, including private-equity firms, hedge funds and wealthy individuals, said the banker, who wouldn’t discuss the matter publicly.

Cook is seeking to return to film-making after resigning from Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. in 2009. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger engineered Disney’s purchase of Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion that year and agreed to distribute movies for Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios SKG.

A former baseball player at the University of Southern California, Cook is also executive producer of a film based on the life of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, Legendary Pictures, which is producing the film, said in a June 1 statement.

Other terms of the offering, including the percentage of the company that will be sold, weren’t available.

Cook’s lawyer Peter Dekom, reached at the Cook Co. offices, declined to comment. In the past year, some investors have become more receptive to film finance.

Legendary, the co-producer of films including “Inception” and the “Hangover” movies, will raise $220.5 million for a Hong Kong venture through Paul Y. Engineering Group Ltd., according to an announcement this month.

Film Loans

Summit Entertainment LLC, producer of the “Twilight” vampire films, raised $750 million in debt in February. New owners of Miramax, producer of Oscar-winning pictures including “Shakespeare in Love,” borrowed $325 million in December to complete the acquisition from Disney.

In his 38 years at Disney, Cook oversaw creation of films including the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’’ franchise, a series that has generated $3.72 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to Boxofficemojo.com.

Cook started at the company as an operator of the steam train and monorail rides at the Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, according to a statement issued at the time of his resignation. He was replaced by Richard Ross, previously president of Disney Channel Inc.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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