3RD UPDATE – EXCLUSIVE: And it’s a very short window of exclusivity — just 5 days — which Disney just granted the Weinsteins and Ron Burkle and Fortress-Colbeck group (who made the request last night during a huddle at their law firm’s offices).
Now both sides will see if a deal for Miramax can be completed. Let me stress: there is no deal yet. The price now is at $625 million. That’s $10M more than the Weinstein partnership bid last night, and $25M more than it planned to pay. I bet Disney goes back to the well for even more now that they’ve put Harvey and Bob on a choke chain. “As you know with them, nothing is a sure thing,” said a Disney insider. Hah, that’s an understatement. If not, then Disney doesn’t have to sell, or it can bargain with the Gores brothers of Platinum Equity, or David Bergstein-advised Pangea Media.
Though Disney had wanted over $700M for the company’s name and library, enough real assets have been taken out of the transaction now on the table with the Weinstein backers that the studio doesn’t feel it’s selling Miramax at a discount. That was a big bone of contention late last night.
Some sources claim Disney at the 11th hour handed over a list of assets (saying, “‘Oh, by the way, this stays with us.”). And that it tried and failed to exclude Project Runway (which the Weinsteins still co-own), all home video sitting on the shelf, a lot of books, all the props and costumes and sets from Miramax movies, and a list of stage plays.
Both sides are claiming victory. Team Weinstein wanted all of the excluded assets put back in and some sources claim it largely succeeded. But other sources tell me Disney still left out assets with very complicated distribution and international issues, and other stuff like that.
The result is that Disney would be very close to an apples-to-apples analysis of the price it originally wanted. From the Mouse House perspective, it would be pleased if this deal is finalized.
If anything, those who look to be buying at a premium, even overpaying, are the Weinstein backers, who consist of supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle and hedge fund Fortress-Colbeck. They’re putting up all the money while Harv and Bob get a management fee and maybe wheedle a little equity. Team Weinstein is claiming Miramax is due as much as $200 million in “Triple-A grade” receivables, and that The Weinstein Co now would receive “a ton of money” in the form of distribution fees for managing the Miramax library.
Meanwhile, Disney will get the Weinsteins out of its hair. Because the bros still have certain rights to a few Miramax pictures stemming from their separation deal with the Mouse House. That kind of peace is priceless. “It’ll be ‘Bye, have a good life, don’t ever talk to us again,” one of my sources chuckled. “Enough is enough is enough. Even so, who ever thought they’d be back like a bad penny?”