Weinstein Co., Mired in Sex Scandal, May Be Up for Sale
The Weinstein Company has entered talks to sell the bulk of its assets to private equity firm Colony Capital, the companies said on Monday.
The announcement about the deal talks comes only days after co-Chairman Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother and the other co-founder, denied the firm was seeking to sell or shut down after firing Harvey Weinstein following accusations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over the past three decades.
Colony Capital, which has about $20 billion in assets under management, will provide an immediate capital infusion into Weinstein Co and is in talks to buy all or a significant portion of its assets, the companies said in a statement.
If the deal goes through, it will be familiar territory for Thomas Barrack, the founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital.
His firm and the Qatar Investment Authority bought the Miramax studio, founded by the Weinstein brothers, in 2010 and sold the movie production and distribution company last year to BeIN Media Group.
Like Miramax, the value of Weinstein Co likely lies in its library of movie hits such as “Shakespeare in Love,” “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” which are in demand by traditional TV networks and online streaming services.
The companies made no mention in their statement of a possible deal value.
Last year, Harvey Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter that the privately held company was worth $700 million to $800 million, including the film library, and that it had no debt.
There are no public filings on which to assess the likely value of the company or its debt load.
The cash infusion comes after more of the Weinstein Co’s partners have cut ties in recent days. Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Friday it is exploring options for the stake it holds in the company. Goldman’s stake is less than $1 million.
Hachette Book Group, the U.S. publishing house of French group Lagardere, terminated the Weinstein Books imprint on Thursday.
Colony’s cash infusion will “stabilize the company’s current operations, as well as provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world,” the companies said in the statement.
A number of women have claimed that movie producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Weinstein on Saturday, a sharp smack for a Hollywood mogul known for powering a string of films to Oscar gold. The Weinsteins together have received 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.
Colony Capital is the private equity arm of Colony NorthStar Inc, a real estate investment trust that has holdings in healthcare, industrial and hospitality sectors.
Colony NorthStar shares were last up 0.5 percent on Monday.
By Greg Roumeliotis and Jessica DiNapoli