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Only a few suitors still in running to buy Weinstein Co. as top bid comes in near $500 million

Harvey Weinstein's studio Weinstein Co. has accepted bids for its assets. The highest bid is worth close to $500 million, including the assumption of debt.
Harvey Weinstein’s studio Weinstein Co. has accepted bids for its assets. The highest bid is worth close to $500 million, including the assumption of debt.
(John Carucci / Associated Press)

Weinstein Co. is getting closer to a sale of the company or its assets as the field of bidders narrows down to a handful of companies.

Bids for all or parts of the embattled New York movie and television studio came due in December, with the highest offer coming close to $500 million including debt, according to a person familiar with the matter not authorized to comment because the discussions are private.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the $500-million bid valuation.

However, a deal is likely still several weeks away, and the company may not sell for that much, said people familiar with the discussions.

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Remaining bidders are now expected to be able to get a better look at the struggling company’s finances and more thoroughly evaluate the liabilities it is facing in the wake of sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

The company was already challenged financially before the allegations because of a string of films that misfired.

Weinstein was fired from the company in October after allegations of sexual harassment were first reported by the New York Times. The mounting accusations have resulted in multiple lawsuits against the movie producer and the company he co-founded with his brother, Bob, in 2005.

Those who have made offers for Weinstein Co. include an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the Small Business Administration under President Obama. Her deal would replace Weinstein Co.’s board mostly with women.

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Killer Content, a New York film production company that has experience making indie movies, has teamed with philanthropist Abigail Disney to pursue its own bid in partnership with the New York Women’s Foundation.

Santa Monica studio Lionsgate is interested in buying Weinstein Co.’s assets. Meanwhile, private equity firms Shamrock Capital Advisors and Vine Alternative Investments are interested in Weinstein Co.’s library of content.

Early efforts to raise emergency financing for Weinstein Co. from potential investors including Colony Capital fell through, but the company bought some time when it sold its North American distribution rights for “Paddington 2” to Warner Bros., which releases the family sequel Jan. 12.

Investment bank Moelis & Co. is leading the process to sell Weinstein Co.

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Representatives for Weinstein Co., Moelis, Contreras-Sweet, Killer Content and Shamrock declined to comment. Vine and Lionsgate could not be immediately reached for comment.

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

@rfaughnder


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