‘Lego Movie’ Backer Village Roadshow Raising $400 Million

Village Roadshow Pictures, a backer of “The Lego Movie” and “American Sniper,” is in talks to raise as much as $400 million from investors to increase production, people with knowledge of the plan said.

The company, 47 percent owned by Australia’s publicly traded Village Roadshow Ltd., is working with Moelis & Co. to raise the equity funding, said the people who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Village Roadshow, which cut back on filmmaking following the financial crisis, is raising funds for movies amid a rising global box office. The parent company said in February it’s increasing production to eight to 12 films a year.

It would be the largest fundraising for Village Roadshow Pictures since June 2012, when it secured $275 million. The company is also working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Rabobank NA to refinance and extend its credit facility beyond 2020, two people said. Analysts expect 2015 to be a record year at the worldwide box office.

Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, an umbrella holding company over the pictures business, is the entity that’s seeking to raise funds, the people said.

In a presentation last month, the parent Village Roadshow Ltd. said it had drawn $345 million from a $770 million facility for film production. The company, which distributes movies, and operates theaters and theme parks in Australia, also holds $136 million in redeemable non-voting shares in the film subsidiary.

2015 Releases

This year, Village Roadshow Pictures backed “Jupiter Ascending,” a box-office disappointment released by Warner Bros. in February. It’s also working with Time Warner Inc.’s film division on “Mad Max: Fury Road,” set for May, and “Concussion” a planned Christmas Day release with Sony Corp.

In 2012, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group raised debt and equity provided by Trinity Opportunities Ltd. The company said then it was considering an initial public offering in the “medium term.”

Village Roadshow Pictures extended its co-production and co-finance agreement with Warner Bros. in 2012, gaining the ability to invest in global film rights. It also has a global co-production and co-finance arrangement with Sony Pictures Entertainment.