EXCLUSIVE: The bidding for the distressed assets of The Weinstein Company is over, sources said. Lantern Capital’s $435 million stalking horse bid will win the day. There was only one other bid — Sonar Entertainment bid for TV assets — and it wasn’t in the ballpark of Lantern’s offer to keep the company going. To the surprise of everyone involved, numerous rival bids never materialized. As a result, plans for a May 4 auction will be scrapped. Instead, meetings with the bankruptcy court will be held tomorrow, to begin the negotiations to hammer out a formal takeover by Lantern, sources said.
As Deadline revealed exclusively tonight, expected bids from Miramax, Lionsgate, MGM, Vine and Shamrock never materialized. There was talk of a possible surprise bid by Legendary. Though that company did kick the tires, it decided not to engage. “It looks like nobody showed up today,” was how one informed source put it earlier today. That means that the Dallas-based private equity firm that was in for 10% of the Yucaipa/Maria Contreras-Sweet bid, is positioned to step in and try to resurrect a once prominent company. It gets the film library, and the completed film and TV projects and development, and it has an obligation to keep the 80 or so employees still believed to be working for the company.
It is believed that Lantern will have to invest an additional $100 million in capital to get the company up and running again, because it has atrophied. Actually, it might not be that easy. This new player in the game will have to wipe off the stain of Harvey Weinstein’s scandalous behavior. Complicating matters is the pressure that is already being brought to bear by advocates for Weinstein’s victims. Sources said that Lantern, which had nothing to do with any of that sordid chapter, doesn’t have to spend a nickel to pay victims. But it is believed that the company will at least be nudged to possibly do what it was going to when it was part of the Yucaipa bid. In that case, the suitor was going to earmark any profits from the unreleased movies for a victims’ fund that would supplement insurance policies that might contribute $30 million. More tomorrow.