New York /Atlanta—Sep 23, 2009
Former Leaders of GE Capital’s Entertainment Group Form Financial Advisory Firm Dedicated to the Film and Leisure Sectors
Offering creative financial consulting services for the Entertainment Industry
EFA Partners LLC, a specialized financial advisory firm, announced its formation to provide a wide array of strategic advisory services to companies in select entertainment industries. EFA (Entertainment Financial Advisors) provides a unique combination of a broad network of relationships, in-depth entertainment industry expertise and high quality financial transaction execution capabilities for entertainment companies, primarily in the film and leisure sectors. EFA was founded by Ralph Willis, Brandt Gully and Kenny Favre, three former executives of GE Capital’s entertainment group, who collectively have over 40 years of experience in the field and have closed and/or managed more than $3 billion in entertainment transactions.
EFA’s focus is to provide middle-market and emerging entertainment companies with financial advisory services to assist with raising capital, merger and acquisition recommendations, restructuring alternatives, industry research and general business plan development. The principals of the firm have been successful providing financial solutions across a wide-variety of entertainment sectors. The team has strong backgrounds across the entire spectrum of sectors that comprise the film industry including film exhibition, digital cinema, film services, and film production as well as the a variety of leisure industries including video games, theme parks, ski resorts, sports, and music.
EFA’s initial focus will be on film-related services. “We believe that our firm will fill a void in the film industry as we feel there is no other advisory firm with specialized expertise across the entire film chain from production to distribution to exhibition,” says Willis, a founder of entertainment finance groups at both GE Capital and Heller Financial. “Having worked for years with film producers, studios, film service companies, theatre circuits and digital cinema companies, we have the unique perspective of truly understanding every facet of our clients’ businesses.”
The EFA team has been immersed in the industry’s ongoing conversion to digital for several years during which time they’ve built relationships with digital cinema integrators, hardware and software providers, theatre circuits and film studios. While with GE Capital, they were instrumental in structuring and closing Cinedigm’s $217 million financing for its conversion of over 3,700 screens. “All of us at Cinedgm have worked with the EFA team for years in proving that our VPF model works and is now the worldwide standard,” said Bud Mayo, Chairman and CEO of Cinedigm. “We look forward to working with Ralph, Kenny and Brandt on creative ways to advance our leadership in digital cinema.”
The principals at EFA have strong relationships and understanding of the film exhibition industry having executed finance transactions totaling in excess of $600 million for many theatre operators. “The EFA team brings significant industry knowledge and insightful judgment that operators greatly value when seeking guidance and financial partners to grow their business,” commented Bobby Cobb, President of Cobb Theatres.
For the leisure industry, the EFA principals have been involved in closing and managing finance transactions totaling almost $2 billion. EFA will continue its efforts in the theme park, ski resorts and sports sectors plus it will have a special focus for video game companies as that sector continues to be comprised of many small to mid-sized firms seeking financial advisory services to grow their businesses. “I’ve worked with the principals of EFA for almost a decade and have seen them take the time to really understand a variety of leisure sectors,” stated Jerry Merola, CFO of industry consulting firm, Amusement Entertainment Management. “They have been dedicated financial specialists in the leisure markets for years and are responsible for bringing creative financial structures to the industry.”