UPDATED: The deadline had been March 31st and then April 1st and now April 5th. So here’s the latest: Disney just a few months ago may have hoped for $700+ million, but it’s not going to happen after the past few weeks of due diligence by potential bidders. Fact is that sources tell me the Miramax auction process is turning into a bust. People who initially looked at the asset (among them Lionsgate, Summit, Qualia, and Media Rights Capital) came to the conclusion that the specialty division was not worth more than $375M-$500M. So Disney is now asking $650 million cash. Everybody was told there would be firm deadlines for submitting bids and then closing. Well, all that has fallen by the wayside. As people have dropped out, Disney has opted to let stragglers opt in. Sources tell me that, when new parties inquire as to the availability of the library, they are told that they’re welcome to the due diligence information but “you have to act quickly”. This has been going on for over 5 weeks.
The Mouse House is hoping that somebody will chase the cheese and write a check. But, right now, the auction is going about as well as the MGM auction — which is badly with the same delays and lowball offers. But, while MGM needs money for its survival, Disney doesn’t have to sell.
So who’s left in it? Tire kicker Tom Gores’ Platinum Equity historically looks at everything and then does nothing. I know Harvey and Bob Weinstein claim they’re still in it, but my sources don’t believe they have the capital to support a bid without a lot of well-heeled partners they’ll have to answer to (and whose names they’re keeping secret, for now).
Speaking of the Weinsteins, it’s unbelievable how much bullshit that one Weinstein Co exec in particular is feeding to gullible media about this sale and Harv’s and Bob’s chances. Look at this ridiculousness which one website just wrote: “Some observers believe that Weinstein will be able to offer more money for the company, because Miramax founders Harvey and Bob know the library well, and have the ability to exploit the assets in it better than just about anyone.” Jeez, that doesn’t even make sense — and it shouldn’t to the Weinstein’s partners on the bid.
The exec even used the auction as leverage during the Oscars, making unholy deals to deliver insider news on the bidding process if the media agreed to run stories about how TWC’s Inglourious Bastards could win Best Picture — a mathematical impossibility since IB clearly ran behind Avatar and The Hurt Locker. I, for one, said no thanks. But a lot of news outlets agreed.
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