Ron Tutor and Colony Capital to each put in $100 million for Miramax, recruit new investor


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Investor Ron Tutor has brought in a new minority investor for his deal to acquire Miramax Films from Walt Disney Co., as the parties are on the verge of signing a definitive agreement.

Jerome Swartz, who co-founded mobile technology company Symbol Technologies Inc. and was its chairman until retiring in 2004, is expected to invest between $25 million and $50 million in the venture, according to two people familiar with situation. Swartz could not be reached for comment.


The investment group is expected to pay about $660 million for the specialty film label and its 611-title library, including several unreleased films. Tutor, chairman of Sylmar-based construction giant Tutor Perini Corp., along with Los Angeles private equity firm Colony Capital, are each expected to invest $100 million, said a knowledgeable person. Additional investors could be tapped in the near future, the person added. The remainder of the purchase price will be financed with debt.

It is unclear whether Morgran Creek Production founder James Robinson, who was initially planning to invest up to $75 million in the deal, will remain involved.

The Tutor and Colony-led investor group is expected to make a non-refundable down payment of $40 million to Disney by close of business Thursday, according to another individual.

The final agreement is still undergoing last-minute changes but could be signed as soon as Thursday evening, two people close to matter said.

Disney has agreed to manage the Miramax library, which includes such titles as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ for one year, with the investors having an option to renew the arrangement for an additional year.

Tutor and Colony plan to hire a seasoned Hollywood executive to run Miramax and recruit a staff of up to 50 employees over the next six months. Plans call for the company to produce a few new movies a year to freshen the library in order to raise its value. With DVD and television sales declining, older film libraries like Miramax’s and beleaguered studio MGM have seen their cash flow diminished in recent years.


A spokesperson for Disney did not respond to request for comment.

[Updated at 11:47 p.m.: The Walt Disney Co. announced the sale of Miramax to Filmyard Holdings LLC., the investor group led by Tutor. The sale covers more than 700 film titles as well as non-film assets, such as books, development projects and the Miramax name.]

-- Claudia Eller and Dawn C. Chmielewski