Bids to purchase Weinstein Co. come due amid uncertain outlook
Bids for Weinstein Co. came due Wednesday, marking the latest step in the effort to sell Harvey Weinstein’s beleaguered movie and television studio, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.
The future of the studio has remained uncertain as Weinstein has faced mounting accusations of sexual harassment and assault from dozens of women that could bring heavy legal liabilities to the company. Any bids will be considered by board members Lance Maerov and Tarak Ben Ammar, the knowledgeable person said, but it is not clear when they will come to a decision.
A Weinstein Co. representative declined to comment.
Weinstein Co. has been under public pressure to sell, file for bankruptcy protection or shut down since Weinstein’s alleged behavior was first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker in early October.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
So far, interest in Weinstein Co. appears to be tepid among the traditional Hollywood players, because few, if any, want to be seen doing a deal that would benefit Weinstein, who still has a stake in the company. The mogul was fired as co-chairman in October, leaving his brother, Bob, as the sole chairman.
Two potential suitors have emerged publicly with offers that include an element promoting social good.
Los Angeles-based business leader Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration under President Obama, in November sent a letter in November offering to buy it. Under her plan, the business would be renamed, keep its employees and install a majority-female board of directors, according to people familiar with the talks.
Killer Content, a New York-based production company behind the Oscar-nominated art picture “Carol,” has also expressed interest in buying Weinstein Co. assets and funneling profits to women’s charities, according to people familiar with the proposal. The New York Women’s Foundation is closely involved with the offer.
Representatives of the two acknowledged bidding groups declined to comment on their bids. Variety first reported on the bidding deadline.
Some media and entertainment bankers have privately expressed skepticism about the two bids and expect the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors.
Weinstein Co. recently secured a financial lifeline by selling the North American distribution rights of “Paddington 2” to Warner Bros. in a roughly $30-million deal.
Some traditional players, including movie studio Lionsgate, have considered buying all or part of the company, but ultimately decided not to bid.
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