Eisner Seeks $800 Million to Start Film, TV Company

Michael Eisner, the former chairman and CEO of Walt Disney , is trying to raise $800 million for a new film and television production company, according to people who have been approached about investing.

Michael Eisner
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Michael Eisner

The fundraising effort kicked off last week and is being led by JP Morgan , which is seeking to raise $400 million in equity in a private placement and place $400 million in debt financing. The Eisner led production company hopes to make four to five films a year and produce two to three scripted television shows, according to people approached to invest.

The seventy year old Eisner has been focused on creating and incubating digital content through Tornante, a company he founded upon leaving Disney in 2005. Eisner has not, however, reentered the business of making motion pictures or full length television series for distribution over broadcast or cable, since leaving Disney after a 21 year stint as its CEO.

Eisner, who is expected to invest $20 million of his own funds in the new production company, is a well- known quantity when it comes to producing money making movies and TV shows, having had a hand in movies such as Grease and Raiders of the Lost Arc as COO of Paramount before he moved over to run Disney.

Despite that track record, JP Morgan could have a tough time raising $400 million in cash for the effort, while also syndicating a revolving line of credit for a like amount. First off, it’s a very big amount of money for a start-up production company even with Michael Eisner at its helm.

It’s also not clear whether Eisner has signed a distribution deal with any of the major film studios or whether Eisner will receive producing fees on the films and movies separately from the company, a potential non-starter for investors.

Eisner and officials at JP Morgan declined to comment.

Variety reported early this year that Eisner was "eyeing a production fund".