Following news of impending cashflow problems, Wizard World has reached an agreement with Bristol Investment Fund, Ltd. to provide an unspecified amount of working capital for "existing operations and for the creation of new vertical operating units."
In late November, Wizard World notified stockholders that it had insufficient funds to "operate on a long term basis" going into 2017. Specified as part of its quarterly SEC filings, Wizard World had at the time just over $2.5m in working capital but an accumulated deficit of $15.2m. Its plans at the time were to seek outside funding through loans, equity investments, and cutting some operating costs.
Bristol is one of Wizard World's largest stakeholders, and earlier this year its portfolio manager Paul Kessler was installed as chairman of the convention company's board.
“I have been involved in the day-to-day operations of Wizard World since late spring with a focus on operations, strategy, internal controls, and governance. With the guidance of our external legal and financial advisors, which include Lucosky Brookman LLP, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, DLA Piper, Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, Redwood Capital, and Brio Financial Group each of whom we acknowledge and to whom we express gratitude, we have made, and continue to make, progress in each of these areas," said Kessler. "I believe we have assembled a highly-regarded and exceptionally qualified management team during this time of transition. The financing by Bristol provides a solid fiscal foundation enabling the Company to drive toward future success by focusing on the existing business as well as some new business extensions. We have great plans on the table for Wizard World.”
Wizard World has 16 conventions planned for 2017, down from 18 events in 2016 and 25 in 2015. Wizard World CEO/President John D. Maatta said this latest funding by Bristol will help fuel the "re-set and rebuilding" he initiated since taking control of the company.
“The investment by Bristol insures the Company’s ability to aggressively move forward into 2017, and beyond. The second half of 2016 was a re-set and rebuilding period during which the Company moved aggressively to professionalize its operations and systems while containing costs and greatly enhancing the entertainment value at its shows," said Maatta. "The Company is being actively converted from a 'mom and pop' road show carnival culture into a significant live event and entertainment company. While continuing to revamp the existing business operations, the Company, during the first two quarters of 2017, plans to move into new vertical brand extensions designed and contemplated to compliment and grow the existing business. We have cut costs, restructured the executive roster, and re-imagined the core nature of the company. In a material break from the past, the Company is now operated professionally, by professionals in the entertainment space."
Wizard World didn't specify what these "new vertical brand extensions" would be.