EXCLUSIVE: A new bidder has emerged for The Weinstein Company, a day after the bidding process reached a seemingly anti-climactic end: Inclusion Media, a company founded by Broadway producer Howard Kagan.
Inclusion Media today submitted a $315 million cash offer for Weinstein Co.’s film and television assets, according to documents obtained by Deadline. Kagan formally requested an extension from TWC to complete due diligence on its offer.
TWC has not responded to a request for comment.
Inclusion Media’s bid would create a settlement fund of $25 million, plus 4% equity, for women who were victims of sexual assault. This fund would be administered by federal district court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, currently presiding over a class-action suit brought by six women who say they fell prey to Harvey Weinstein’s casting couch. Inclusion’s proposal also sets aside $5 million, and 1% equity, for employees who were victims.
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Kagan expressly pledges co-operation to women pursuing remedies against their abusers, saying Inclusion Media will provide access to company records and employee witnesses whenever possible, according to documents obtained by Deadline.
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Attorney General Eric Scheiderman issued an an open letter yesterday, calling on all parties to use the sale process to protect survivors of past misconduct.
“Bidders should propose bid enhancements that set aside financial resources to compensate and provide support services for injured employees and industry talent, both of whom are essential to the company’s future success,” Schneiderman said in the letter.
Five of the women involved in the class-action lawsuit in New York threw their support behind Kagan’s bid.
“Mr. Kagan has a long history of supporting and promoting women and diversity, and has stated that he intends to ensure that the content of the new company is likewise forward-thinking and will serve as a model for the industry,” said Cris Armenta, founding partner of The Armenta Law Firm. “We believe this is the best possible course of action for the class of women who suffered unspeakable harm at the hands of Harvey Weinstein.”
Inclusion Media said it would maintain the studio’s headquarters in New York City, where it pledges to become the most diverse and progressive film and TV studio in the industry. Employees involved in the sexual harassment scandal will not remain with the company, though others with no connection with the scandal will be offered jobs.
Kagan has a background in investment banking and in producing, with 25 years of experience investing in distressed assets. For the past 10 years, he and his wife Janet have produced such Tony-nominated musicals as Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, On the Town, the hit revival of Pippin and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.
The producing duo, whose net worth is believed to in the tens of millions, reached into their own pockets to invest $2 million in On the Town.
The Inclusion Media bid is another surprising development in the Weinstein Co. saga since the New York Times and New Yorker first reported allegations of rape, sexual harassment and assault against co-founder Harvey Weinstein. The revelations caused talent to flee the studio, sending it on a spiral toward bankruptcy.
One eleventh-hour bid, from an investor group led by former Obama Administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet and investor Ron Burkle, collapsed, resulting in TWC’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
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