UPDATE 5:45 PM: Ron Burkle and Harvey Weinstein just issued this joint statement in response to Disney insiders telling the media (including Deadline) that the Miramax deal with them is “dead”:
“The Weinstein Brothers, The Weinstein Company and Ron Burkle are all working towards a deal to purchase and operate Miramax. The parties continue to work diligently towards an agreement.”
3:15 PM: A report in the Los Angeles Times just pronounced the deal dead for Ron Burkle to buy Miramax from Disney and have Harvey and Bob Weinstein run it. The paper cites multiple sources who said the deal fell apart in the final stages over money. However, it is premature to throw dirt on the coffin. A Weinstein insider just told me the deal is not dead. And I have other sources who described talks are tense right now, but not over. They say this has been a study in leverage, with Disney wanting to squeeze every last dollar out of Burkle for the library. The studio believed it had the upper hand because Harvey badly wanted to announce its completion during the Cannes Film Festival, specifically during Weinstein’s beachfront bash last Saturday. The sources tell me that Disney has now seized on the strategy of holding the Miramax name hostage, which was a sentimental draw for the Weinstein bros in the first place.