Industries

Entertainment & Media

While the entertainment & media industry continues to produce award winning movies and record-breaking hit songs, behind the curtain the industry has been struggling to adapt to falling ticket sales and dwindling ratings, resulting from unexpected disruptions from the pandemic and changing attitudes of consumers as streaming services continue to draw customers away from traditional mediums.

SCP’s professionals have a range of experience in the media & entertainment space and have worked first-hand with companies as they navigate this industry’s next act. We are experts in the battle for eyeballs and attention: find out how we can help you envision a successful path forward.


Case Studies


Entertainment & Media Industry Team Members

Roger Gorog

Senior Director

Philip Kaestle

Managing Director

Bob Riiska

Managing Director

David Bitterman

Managing Director

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Roger Gorog

Senior Director

Roger Gorog, a Senior Director at SierraConstellation Partners, provides operational and financial advisory services to underperforming companies and companies in transition. His experience includes in- and out-of-court restructurings, business cost rationalizations, operational turnarounds, interim management, and transaction advisory services. Roger has experience across a variety of industries including, Aerospace & Defense, Business Services, Construction, Consumer Products & Retail, Energy, Financial Services, Food & Agriculture, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Real Estate, and Transportation & Logistics.

Before joining SCP, Roger was a Director at Alvarez & Marsal in their Healthcare Group where he worked on several large bankruptcy cases and numerous out of court restructurings. Prior to A&M, Roger worked in public accounting at Deloitte & Touche where he worked on financial statement audits of various corporations, both public and private.

Roger received his bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting from Claremont McKenna College and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from The Peter Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA, inactive) and a Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor (CIRA). He is an active member of the Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors (AIRA) and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

  • Interim CFO to a food manufacturer facing serious operational issues after losing its largest customer. He successfully reduced operating expenses and cash burn while negotiating with major vendors and the Company’s lender to extend their runway.
  • Officer for a leading cancer research institute where he was responsible for all finance and accounting related activities during a Ch. 11 bankruptcy and associated sale.
  • Financial advisor to large retail chain facing serious liquidity and liability issues. Communicated with all constituents, negotiated landlord concessions, and managed cash while we prepared for bankruptcy filing and associated liquidation sales.
  • Served as a financial advisor to a national ambulance company through a prepacked Chapter 11 bankruptcy that reduced balance sheet obligations by $350 million.
  • Financial advisor to an oil and gas E&P company where we successfully sold assets to strategic buyers, providing needed liquidity to maintain go-forward operations and successfully repay lenders and creditors.
  • Lead a due diligence assessment of a target company for a private equity firm that led to a successful transaction of medical information services provider. After the acquisition, he was further retained to assist in developing the integration plan, including development of various strategic initiatives to improve overall financial performance.
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Philip Kaestle

Managing Director

Philip Kaestle is a Managing Director at SierraConstellation Partners where he provides financial and operational advisory services to companies in transition. He has experience with balance sheet restructurings, interim executive management, operational turnarounds, identifying strategic opportunities, debt and equity capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, financial modeling and forecasting. Philip has worked in a variety of industries, including aerospace, apparel, distribution, entertainment, financial services, food and beverage, healthcare, industrial services, manufacturing, marketing, media, real estate and retail.

Philip has served in a variety of senior-level positions including Interim President, Chief Restructuring Officer, Interim Chief Financial Officer, Liquidating Trustee, Financial Advisor and Investment Banker to numerous middle-market companies and is particularly skilled at assisting clients through challenging situations.

Prior to joining SCP, Philip was an associate vice president in OneWest Bank’s Media and Entertainment Finance Group where he was responsible for structuring, underwriting and executing new senior debt transactions and recapitalizations for media and entertainment companies. He was also a senior financial analyst in OneWest Bank’s Commercial Real Estate Group, responsible for managing and liquidating non-performing real estate assets.

Before joining OneWest Bank, Philip was an associate at Arch Bay Capital, a Southern California-based real estate investment fund. He started his career as an investment banking analyst with Imperial Capital, LLC in Los Angeles.

In 2020, Philip received the M&A Advisor’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes leading M&A, financial and turnaround professionals who have reached a significant level of success while still under the age of 40. In 2022, Philip was named to the Turnaround Management Association Northwest Chapter Board of Directors.

Philip holds a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics from Claremont McKenna College and is one of the co-leaders of the Claremont McKenna College Seattle Alumni Chapter.

  • Liquidating Trustee and Chief Restructuring Officer to a distributor of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages where he raised senior debt through a refinancing of the company’s credit facility, then sold the assets of the company through a competitive process and completed the wind down despite ongoing litigation between the two shareholders.
  • Interim President and Chief Financial Officer to a dental laboratory manufacturing company where he rebuilt management and finance teams and significantly reduced operating expenses through a series of strategic initiatives despite a volatile operating environment.
  • Chief Restructuring Officer to a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company which filed for Chapter 11 as a lawsuit with a former co-development partner was coming to a head. SCP led a settlement negotiation to resolve the litigation and is in the process of effectuating an orderly wind down of the business, which has already resulted in full repayment to the pre and post-petition lenders.
  • Chief Restructuring Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer to a color marketing manufacturing company where he executed a series of cost reductions and operational improvements to increase profitability despite a challenging operating environment. He also assisted with the sale of the company, resulting in full repayment to the senior lender.
  • Chief Restructuring Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer to an ethnic grocery store chain. Key responsibilities included cost reductions, vendor relations and cash management. He implemented a $12 million restructuring within a three-month timeframe which stabilized the business and allowed for a sale and subsequent recapitalization.
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Bob Riiska

Managing Director

Robert O. Riiska, a Managing Director at SierraConstellation Partners, has over 25 years of turnaround and advisory experience, including serving in interim senior management capacities for clients and performing numerous value-added consulting assignments. Clients have included multigenerational family businesses, sponsor-backed roll-ups and large publicly traded corporations.

Mr. Riiska is a Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Mr. Riiska serves on the boards of several leading industry associations including the Executive Committee of the Turnaround Management Association’s Southern California Chapter, the Advisory Board of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Bankruptcy Battleground West and as a Secured Finance Network member director.

In 2019, Mr. Riiska received the Turnaround Atlas Award for his work as Chief Restructuring Officer of LORAC Cosmetics prior to joining SCP in 2018.

Mr. Riiska’s recent engagements have been in diverse industries, including automotive dealerships, transportation, furniture manufacturing and retailers, apparel, mining, cryptocurrency lending, nonprofits, consumer products, restaurants and industrials.

  • Served as CRO of a gold mine located in the Southwest U.S., spearheading out-of-court restructuring efforts which led to a successful sale.
  • Served as financial advisor to a manufacturer and distributor of commercial office furniture, negotiating a forbearance agreement which would give the company sufficient operational runway to recover from the issues mainly caused by the pandemic.
  • As CRO of a prestige cosmetics company based in Los Angeles, oversaw all aspects of day-to-day operations, including directly interfacing with large national retailers and suppliers, and developing and executing liquidation strategies for excess inventory, while also coordinating successful sale efforts.
  • As financial advisor to a consumer packaging company, negotiated a new financing solution to provide liquidity to maintain core operations and pursue growth initiatives, while also achieving a successful sale of one of the divisions in an expedited timeframe.
  • As financial advisor to a $500 million long-haul trucking company, developed a successful turnaround plan and convinced the lenders to provide a significant structured loan overadvance to facilitate execution of the plan.
  • Served as financial advisor to a $300 million family-owned grocery wholesaler and developed a comprehensive turnaround plan to return the business to profitability.
  • Served as CRO of a $900 million publicly-traded staffing company with over 30,000 temporary employees. Successfully sold several business units after a massive tax fraud related to an affiliated company had been discovered.
  • Acted as Financial Advisor to one of the largest manufacturers of recreational vehicles while it operated in Chapter 11, leading to a successful asset sale.
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David Bitterman

Managing Director

David Bitterman, a Managing Director at SierraConstellation Partners, has nearly 30 years of experience as a financial advisor, investment banker and sell-side research analyst mostly serving the automotive, transportation and general industrial sectors. His career has provided him with great connectivity to lenders, lawyers, private equity firms and other return-oriented investors. David has enjoyed great success professionally both in an execution and business development capacity. At SCP, David is focused on maintaining support from his longstanding relationships to expand SCP’s presence in new markets, mostly on the east coast.

Prior to SierraConstellation, David spent 11 years at Huron Consulting Group where he first served in a capital raising capacity, eventually co-heading the firm’s broker-dealer and, subsequently, running new business development nationally for the Business Advisory practice.

Prior to Huron, David was 8 years at Deutsche Bank Securities, mostly in leveraged finance, first running the High Yield Research group and then moving onto the Industrials investment banking team where he worked on financing transactions in the automotive, commercial truck and car rental industries. David helped arrange and finance several leveraged buyouts of automotive suppliers and well as finance consolidation in the car rental industry and in support of several car OEMs as they managed through the Great Recession.

Since then, David has helped to raise capital for many stressed and distressed middle market companies and has worked alongside many lenders and investors to manage through some very challenging credits and platform companies.

In 2021, David won the 15th Annual M&A Advisor Turnaround Award under the category of ‘Information Technology Deal of the Year’ for his work with Wave Computing.

David received his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tufts University and his MBA in Finance from the NYU Stern School of Business.

  • Ran several successful debt capital raises concurrent with Financial Advisor roles at several stressed automotive suppliers through the Great Recession when credit appetite for the sector was particularly tight.
  • At SCP, David led the successful refinancing of a non-emergency ambulatory care provider.
  • Completed successful rights offering for an automotive supplier.
  • Ran a sellside advisory for Contech Castings in bankruptcy.
  • Ran a sellside advisory for a west coast-based digital marketing and advertising agency.
  • Served as Financial Advisor to a Georgia-based Payday lender, which ultimately resulted in a successful high yield bond offering.
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John Halloran

Director

John Halloran, a Director at SierraConstellation Partners, provides interim management and operational and financial advisory services to underperforming companies and companies in transition. He leverages a growing track record at SCP and prior experience as a management consultant and private equity investor to help middle-market companies navigate through difficult business challenges. His experience includes exposure to various industries, such as pharmaceutical/biotechnology developers, consumer-facing brands, retailers, and distributors, media & entertainment providers, and information technology services and platforms.

John’s recent work at SCP has been recognized by industry awards, including:

  • In 2023, John won the M&A Advisor’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes leading M&A, financial and turnaround professionals who have reached a significant level of success while still under the age of 40.
  • In 2023, John was recognized with colleagues by the Global M&A Network’s 15th Annual Turnaround Atlas Awards for the SCP team’s leadership of NewAge, Inc. in the category of Chapter 11 Restructuring of the Year (sm).

John has completed relevant professional education including the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor (CIRA) designations. John is also active in several industry associations including the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors (AIRA), and CFA Society New York.

Prior to joining SCP, John was an investor with Omaha Beach Capital. There, he supported management of private equity investment vehicles, with a focus on underwriting lower- and middle- market transactions. He began his career as a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton’s Strategic Innovation Group.

John holds a B.S. and M.S. degree in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is an alumnus of Chaminade High School in Long Island, New York.

  • Financial Advisor and Deputy Chief Restructuring Officer to a commercial-stage developer of branded OTC pharmaceutical products. As a Financial Advisor, analyzed cash flow assumptions, assisted the board in evaluating strategic alternatives, and conducted out of court negotiations regarding the settlement of liabilities. As Deputy Chief Restructuring Officer, facilitated negotiations to secure a stalking horse bidder, completed a sale of the company's assets through a 363 sale, and coordinated the Chapter 11 case requirements in Delaware.
  • Financial Advisor and Chief Restructuring Officer Support for a national dance events producer. Completed a review of company liquidity and business plan and assisted in negotiating a capital infusion from the senior lender to bridge the company to a sale transaction after events of default. Managed the company's cash flow and implemented cash controls on behalf of CRO and Board during the sale. The company was successfully sold to a private equity buyer in an out-of-court transaction.
  • Chief Restructuring Officer Support for the restructuring and sale of a global, publicly traded multi-level marketer of health and wellness products. Instrumental in ensuring that the company could prepare for and meet bankruptcy case requirements despite the limited budget and timeline. Key contributor on the SCP project team in their coordination of the company's finance function during the Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware despite significant management turnover.
  • Interim CEO Support to a diversified IT services and solutions provider based in Canada and US. Assisted the CEO in overseeing company operations and communications with lenders regarding the company's capital needs in connection with a potential restructuring transaction. Oversaw the cash flow forecasting and reporting process for two independent operating entities and presented regular updates on behalf of company to lender group.
  • Chief Restructuring Officer and Liquidating Trustee Support to a wholesale distributor of beer, wine, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages where he facilitated extensive transaction diligence for its acquisition by one of the world’s largest brewing companies and assisted the Liquidating Trustee in managing the satisfaction of all company obligations during its wind down post-close.
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Online Broadcast Network Company

SITUATION

  • Online broadcast network company that specializes in after-show podcasts for several television series including Game of Thrones, Big Brother, The Flash, Real Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy.
  • On each of the Company’s TV after-shows, a mix of celebrities, personalities, and industry professionals break down that night's episode, take calls from fans, and interview guests.
  • The network produced over 100 hours of content per week but had no way to monetize it.

SCP'S SOLUTION

  • An SCP professional was brought in as an investor and interim Chief Executive Officer. In this capacity, the professional developed and implemented the company’s first revenue model and negotiated distribution arrangements.
  • SCP provided expertise on advertising and product placement strategies that propelled the growth of the business.

RESULTs

  • Company experienced 1 Billion annual downloads of its content at the time of transition.
  • The SCP professional took the Company from a pre-revenue model to $10+ million in revenue before transitioning out as interim Chief Executive Officer.
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Production Company

SITUATION

  • Borrowed over $80 million from PE Firm to develop, acquire and exploit the distribution rights to seven Hollywood feature films showcasing some of today’s top stars.
  • All of the films significantly underperformed at the box office and the Covid 19 pandemic further exacerbated the Company’s financial condition.
  • The lender also discovered that the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman had falsified the lender’s signature into a UCC-3 filed to release lender collateral which was sold by Chief Executive Officer.
  • The Chief Executive Officer was removed as Manager and an SCP professional replaced him as Manager of nine Company entities to manage the business and explore strategic alternatives to maximize recovery to the lender.

SCP'S SOLUTION

  • An SCP professional assumed the Manager role and operated the nine entities while assessing what assets and liabilities existed and what were the true cash needs to exploit the distribution rights to the films.
  • Rationalized the company’s cost structure and executed immediate and substantial reductions in force to reduce the cash bleed as the company was bloated with excess and expensive talent.
  • Established a process to value the film library and performed basic forensic accounting work to research what happened to all of the cash.
  • SCP recommended and the lender agreed to execute a controlled wind down of the operations and sale of the film library.

RESULTs

  • Forensic work found $28 million in prepaid advertising on the balance sheet which, when investigated turned out to be a complex fraud wherein the Chief Executive Officer created fictitious companies with websites and employees to bill over $30 million from Aviron. The matter was turned over to the FBI, Southern District of NY and SEC ultimately leading to his arrest.
  • Operated the business with minimal additional resources from lender and successfully marketed the film library for sale.
  • Effectively and efficiently wound down the business and negotiated the sale of the debt to an industry third party who foreclosed on the collateral after which we filed Chapter 7 liquidation on all entities.
  • Ultimately maximized the recovery to the lender and successfully wound down the enterprise.
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Private Film Production and Event Rental Company

SITUATION

  • This family-owned business was struggling with cash flow and their lender relationship after over-expanding into ancillary business lines and warehousing expansion.
  • The lender was requiring a substantial pay-down on their $30+ million loan and was reducing availability on their line of credit based on underperformance on their projections.
  • The lender required a consultant to be brought in to assess the projections and ultimately work with them to resolve the situation with the lender.

SCP'S SOLUTION

  • SCP quickly worked with the owner and his outside financial team to prepare a weekly cash flow forecast and a medium-term financial forecast to restructure the loan.
  • In addition, SCP worked to hire and retain a full-time accounting staff to reduce cost and improve the quality of the information provided to the lender.
  • In light of the large asset-purchase requirements in the rental business, SCP further negotiated a line of credit to purchase new equipment and expand their warehousing facilities to ensure no further liquidity issues.

RESULTs

  • The Company successfully renegotiated its loan with the existing lender and freed up substantial capital to continue their expansion.
  • The Company further reduced their operating expenses by in-sourcing the accounting team.
  • In addition, the accounting team improved accuracy and quality of information to eliminate future challenges.
  • The Company continues to thrive and grow in a very competitive marketplace.
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Independent Film Distribution Company

SITUATION

  • Company is an independent film distribution company that became overleveraged in a broader LBO.
  • The Company’s larger sister company (a large domestic distributor) filed for bankruptcy protection, precipitating the wind down of the Company (foreign distributor).
  • At the behest of the Lender, SCP was engaged to monitor and assist management with the wind down of the business and the ultimate repayment of their loan.

SCP'S SOLUTION

  • SCP developed a 13-week cash flow model and tightly monitored all collections and disbursements, ensuring timely repayment of the secured loan.
  • SCP reviewed and opined on all disbursements, maximizing cash retention and thus debt repayment.

Results

  • The senior secured lender was repaid ahead of expectations.
  • SCP continues to work with the company to independently track cash flow on a weekly basis.
  • SCP continues to work with senior management to monitor expenses and make recommendations to cut expenses.
  • SCP will work with the remaining management team to liquidate the remaining assets and wind down the business once the remaining material vendors are repaid.
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Entertainment Packaging Manufacturer

SITUATION

  • A $450 million manufacturer of packaging for the music, motion picture, and gaming industry faced dramatic operational challenges due to shifting consumer trends in packaging as well as streaming/on-demand music and video content.
  • The company was also highly levered due to a series of acquisitions and financings at top-of-market cash flow levels and leverage.

SCP'S SOLUTION

  • Assessed the liquidity and operational issues facing the company to identify a cohesive strategy.
  • Reorganized the geographic structure of the company to more accurately reflect its customer and cost base after taking into account the dramatic industry changes impacting the marketplace.
  • SCP’s team led the turnaround from assessment through plan execution.

RESULTs

  • Manufacturing facilities and capacities were rationalized and consolidated.
  • Short- and long-term agreements were negotiated with vendors and other creditors to compromise debts.
  • Long term financing was secured to fund the additional turnaround process and restructure the balance sheet.
  • The Company has ultimately sold to a strategic competitor as a going concern.