The Weinstein Company may live to fight another day after all. After a tumultuous 10 days following revelations of sexual assault and harassment allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, TWC announced this morning that Colony Capital is riding to its rescue.
TWC and Colony have reached a deal for Colony to provide what a press release called “an immediate capital infusion” into the company. Colony is also now negotiating to buy part or all of TWC and its assets. No specifics were given and both parties declined comment beyond what was in the three-paragraph release.
TWC board member Tarak Ben Ammar offered a statement on behalf of the board, which has dwindled to just four members as the scandal has engulfed the company. “We are pleased to announce this agreement and potential strategic partnership with Colony Capital,” he said. “We believe that Colony’s investment and sponsorship will help stabilize the Company’s current operations, as well as provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world. Colony’s successful experience and track record in media and entertainment will be invaluable to the Company as we move forward.”
Thomas J. Barrack, Jr., founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital, said in a statement, “We are pleased to invest in The Weinstein Company and to help it move forward. We believe the company has substantial value and growth potential, and we look forward to working with the company’s critical strategic distribution and production partners to help preserve and create value for all stakeholders, including its employees. We will help return the company to its rightful iconic position in the independent film and television industry.”
Colony has been involved with recent stages of Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s show business odyssey. It led a group of private investors that bought Miramax from Disney in 2010 and helped arrange the joint venture established between TWC and Miramax in 2013 that enables the companies to develop and produce content from the Miramax library.
Barrack is a major supporter of President Donald Trump, who helped raise funds for his 2016 campaign and spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He has also made news in recent months for a tax-evasion investigation in Italy.
Colony Capital is the private equity arm of real estate investment firm Colony NorthStar. Among its moves was saving Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch from foreclosure.
This has been a grueling period for the Weinsteins, whose stature had shrunk even before the scandal but who still held a place in the media annals and in the cultural life of New York City. Harvey Weinstein, who helped create the modern Oscar-campaign template, was expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences over the weekend.
Financial and industry sources as well as some of the 150 or so employees of the Weinstein Co. have painted a grim picture of the company’s day-to-day reality since the New York Times and New Yorker bombshells exposed decades of abhorrent behavior by Harvey Weinstein. While the Colony rescue ensures the short-term survival of the company, COO David Glasser told Deadline over the weekend that he believed TWC “as it sits today is done,” although “there are probably other incarnations we have to look at.”
One major question that the Colony infusion, and even its potential ownership of TWC, does not answer is: Will talent resume working with the company even when it is re-branded? One after another, talent and filmmakers have issued statements condemning Harvey Weinstein’s acts, and an array of projects have been withdrawn or scuttled. Some equity does remain, such as the Project Runway TV franchise, but the valuation of the assets is far from its peak.