The coming auction for the assets of the bankrupt Weinstein Co. has drawn interest from 23 potential bidders, lawyers for the New York-based studio said at a Friday hearing.
The Delaware hearing to approve the bidding process was the latest step in the Weinstein Co.'s search for a buyer after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 19. The studio declared bankruptcy with less than $500,000 in cash and hundreds of millions of dollars owed to creditors.
Weinstein Co. entered bankruptcy with a starting bid from Dallas private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners to acquire the assets for $310 million in cash, plus liabilities related to film and TV projects. The bid sets a floor for other offers in the coming auction.
The auction date was pushed slightly to May 4 because the judge, Mary F. Walrath, wasn't available on the previously proposed date. It was previously planned for May 2. The Weinstein Co. has been eager to complete a sale as quickly as possible, partly to maintain industry relationships.
Weinstein Co.'s lawyers said 13 of the potential bidders were financial buyers, and 10 were strategic. Fourteen have accessed the company's financial documents in the data room set up for bidders. Many of the interested parties had kicked the tires before the bankruptcy filing.
It remains to be seen if any bids will top Lantern's. Many of the pre-bankruptcy bidders were interested in individual assets and film projects, not the whole company.
Weinstein Co.'s assets include a substantial library of films and a potentially valuable TV division. The company sold off multiple movie projects to raise money after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault allegations sent the studio into a tailspin.
Starting six months ago, the movie mogul was accused of sexual harassment or assault by dozens of women. He has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.
Several parties had filed objections in advance of the hearing, including the producers of the unfinished film "Hotel Mumbai," starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, who do not want the film tied up in the bankruptcy process. The producers in their objection said they had rescinded the rights for Weinstein Co. to distribute the movie. The court, however, did not address the dispute in the hearing to approve bidding procedures.