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ENTERTAINMENT : Savoy Announces Restructuring, Replaces Film Chief Greisman

November 17, 1994|JAMES BATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Savoy Pictures Entertainment, plagued by such box-office duds as "Exit to Eden" and "Serial Mom," on Wednesday disclosed a financial restructuring to boost its capital base and named producer Rob Fried to replace Alan Greisman as president of its motion picture unit.

The independent movie company is cutting its debt burden by allowing four institutional investors to swap $40 million in bonds for common stock at $10 a share, lower than the $18.60 original conversion price.

Holders of some $65 million in bonds will be offered the same deal. Savoy also expects to boost its capital base with $500 million from Chemical Bank, $200 million in the form of a revolving credit facility and $300 million for a television station venture it has with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Since debuting with "A Bronx Tale" in September, 1993, Savoy has released a batch of films that have often received good reviews--such as "Shadowlands" and "Serial Mom"--but which failed to catch fire at the box office. The company lost $15.1 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30 and $28.9 million in the first nine months of the year.

In addition, the company's stock has plunged. It closed at $7.25 a share on Wednesday in over-the-counter trading, down 62.5 cents. Earlier this year, it traded at about $21.

In an interview, President Lewis J. Korman said the lower debt load and infusion of funds will allow the company to expand into such areas as television programming as well as be more competitive in buying film projects.

Greisman will become a consultant and in-house producer, Korman said. Korman said that Fried will be allowed to remain involved in TriStar's remake of "Godzilla."

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