The Terminator franchise rights are currently up for grabs and we’ve been reporting pretty extensively on the whole fiasco, trying to see (and predict) where they’ll ultimately land. Studios and independent buyers have been rumored to be circling the franchise, but the deadline is quickly approaching: Halcyon has to settle the matter by February of this year.

Nikke Finke over at Deadline Hollywood is now reporting that Halcyon Holding Group (which currently owns the franchise rights and put out last summer’s Terminator Salvation) has attracted a bargain-bin bidder, so that at least their worst case scenario won’t look so dire anymore.

The official term is a “stalking horse bidder” and in layman’s terms it’s a party which is chosen by a bankruptcy firm to hold a fixed low bid for the asset in question – in this case, the Terminator franchise rights.

Lionsgate (the Saw franchise) is reportedly the stalking horse bidder, so if nobody else ponies up (see what I did there?) a bigger stack of cash for the franchise, Lionsgate can start their negotiations at the price agreed upon with the bankruptcy firm (FTI Capital Advisors is handling the sale).

So what’s the purpose of all this “stalking horse” business? Basically, it gurantees that the bankrupt party (Halcyon) won’t get TOO screwed in the sale of their asset (the franchise rights), because potential bidders will have to beat the stalking horse bid. So when, for example, Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon offers a $10K bid for the rights, Halcyon can say “Sorry, got to go higher than that.”

Other names on rumored to be on the potential bidding list: Sony, Summit Entertainment and Media Rights Capital. Summit is on the come up right now – what with those Twilight profits – and could probably continue their exapnsion quite nicely with a property like Terminator. We all know Sony hit a hurdle this week when they had to scrap production on Spider-Man 4 in favor of a total franchise reboot – do they have a place for a Terminator on their franchise team?

However, with The Sarah Connor Chronicles barely lasting two seasons and Terminator Salvation pissing off more fans than it pleased – not to mention the narrative knot of too much time-traveling confusion – investors are probably thinking long and hard (TWSS) about jumping into bed with Terminator.

We’ll keep you updated as the auction progresses.

Source: Deadline Hollywood