Veteran talent agent Jeff Berg is among a group of entertainment industry executives who’ve been quietly advising Lantern Capital on a plan to move forward, should the stalking horse bidder emerge with The Weinstein Co.’s film and television assets.
The Dallas-based private equity firm, whose diverse holdings include luxury hotels, automotive dealerships and zinc recycling operations, is seeking industry expertise as it prepares to make its initial investment in the entertainment business.
Lantern’s executives have been traveling from New York to Los Angeles, meeting with talent and studio and network executives, as it maps out the studio’s future. It hopes to preserve the Weinstein Co.’s assets, some of which have escaped the bankruptcy auction.
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The private equity firm’s co-founders, Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic, haven’t spoken publicly about their plans for the studio, other in broad brush strokes — saying they hope to position it as a “pre-eminent content provider.”
Lantern’s preparations are taking place, as a bankruptcy court in Delaware oversees the sale of The Weinstein Co’s assets, which include 277 feature films that have grossed in excess of $2 billion and garnered 28 Academy Awards, television shows and several unreleased movies.
Lantern Capital has offered $425 million, in cash and assumption of debt, for The Weinstein Co.’s holdings. Competing bids are due on April 30. If multiple bidders express interest, an auction will be held on May 4.
The Weinstein Co. filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors in March, after trying unsuccessfully to sell the financially troubled company whose fortunes dramatically changed after scores of women accused co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment. An eleventh-hour bid to sell to an investor group led by former Obama Administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet imploded, the studio sought the shelter of bankruptcy court.
Anita Busch contributed to this report.
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