A U.S. bankruptcy court has approved the sale of The Weinstein Company’s assets to Lantern Capital, marking the final chapter for the film and television studio that plunged into crisis following damaging revelations about its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.
Judge Mary Walrath approved the sale to the Dallas-based private equity firm, which has offered to pay $310 million in cash and assume some of the Weinstein Co.’s debts. It was the stalking horse in the bankruptcy action and the favorite to take over the company from the beginning despite having no previous experience in holding an entertainment company.
A last-minute bid from Inclusion Media, which promised to become “the most diverse and progressive film and TV studio in the industry” was offered but never officially made to the court. Representatives for Inclusion did not appear today in the federal courthouse in Wilmington, DE.
Broadway producer Howard Kagan’s Inclusion emerged last week as a surprise suitor after other would-be acquirers, including Miramax and Lionsgate, backed away from the bidding. It submitted an initial offer of $315 million for the assets, with $30 million from the sale proceeds earmarked to benefit the women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment.
The Weinstein Co.’s board said the offer, which arrived after the court-imposed deadline, fell short of the minimum $325 million bid amount set by the court and lacked a good-faith deposit, financial statements or other written evidence establishing its ability to pay the purchase price in cash. It declared Lantern Capital the winner of the bidding, saying its offer of $310 million in cash and $125 million in assumed debt provided the highest and best value for the estate and creditors.
Inclusion Media continued to work behind the scenes to gather the information it needed to submit a completed bid for the company’s assets. The Weinstein Co., meanwhile, expressed frustration that the Unsecured Creditors Committee has been pressuring it to continue spending time with Inclusion and its attorneys, even though there was no indication it had the financing to make a qualified bid.
That committee, which features two Weinstein victims, didn’t object to approval of the sale to Lantern Capital in court today.