3rd Update, Friday AM: It’s official now. ViacomCBS will take a 49% stake in beIN Media’s Miramax library for a total of $375M. This includes an upfront cash payment of roughly $150M per beIN along with a commitment of $45M annually over the next five years or $225M which will be used for new film/TV development. The deal is expected to close by the end of 1Q next year and beIN will retain a 51% stake. I hear that the current Miramax leadership including CEO Bill Block will not change. ViacomCBS’ pursuit of Miramax fell apart in early November when the former shot off a letter of disinterest, but our sources speculated that was just a hardball tactic: A stake in the Miramax library was too valuable for the media conglom as they seek to be a provider of content in the booming streaming era where competing media conglom services are in need of content. For beIN, it’s a big win as they always wanted to retain ownership and control in the library. Some sources believed that would be a hard deal point to meet, but here is the Qatar company, still in control.
ViacomCBS is look to capitalize on the 700 title award-winning library which includes films like Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, and The English Patient as they exploit their own 3,6K Paramount Pictures library in the current streaming environment. As part of the deal, Paramount Pictures has an exclusive, long-term distribution agreement of the Miramax library with the latter having an exclusive, long-term first-look agreement with the Melrose lot to develop, produce, finance and distribute new film and television projects based on Miramax IP. There was news over the summer that a Sliding Doors series was in early development as Deadline broke, plus there’s buzz of a No Country for Old Men series coming together. Further, beIN and ViacomCBS will explore other strategic partnership opportunities across content production and distribution, live events and recreation globally.
“Miramax is a renowned global studio, responsible for some of the most iconic films of the last three decades, including Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Kill Bill and more,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS. “This partnership with beIN will be a unique opportunity to gain access to a valuable library, deepening our already substantial pool of IP at a time when demand for premium content is only accelerating. We look forward to working closely with the Miramax management team as we explore new ways to deliver its titles across a variety of platforms and create new, compelling projects.”
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chairman of beIN Media Group, said “This represents a major investment in and endorsement of our thriving Miramax business, which has grown in value under beIN Media Group’s ownership and has a fantastic future ahead with major new movies and unexploited premium dramas. We are thrilled to partner with ViacomCBS and Paramount to explore further opportunities around Miramax’s iconic IP, and also at Group level; while substantially increasing the scale of our entertainment business. This deal further underlines beIN’s ambitions on the global stage – we are very proud to have established ourselves as one of the leading groups in sport, entertainment and media.”
Miramax was founded in 1979 by Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. They sold the label to Disney in 1993 during their early success with Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner and ultimate 3-time Oscar winner The Piano at a time when major studios were realizing the need for arthouse product. The Weinsteins left Disney in 2005 to start Weinstin Co. which collapsed amid Harvey Weinstein’s scandal. Weinstein Co. was liquidated in 2018 with the library now residing with Spyglass.
During the Bill Block era at Miramax, they co-produced the Universal/Blumhouse reboot Halloween in 2018 which became the most successful movie in the 41 year old franchise with over $255M at the worldwide box office. On Jan. 24 Miramax has the Guy Ritchie British action caper The Gentleman which is being released by STX.
Moelis & Company is serving as the financial advisor to beIN MEDIA GROUP, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is serving as legal counsel. Guggenheim Securities is serving as financial advisor to ViacomCBS, while O’Melveny & Myers is serving as legal counsel.
2nd Update, Thursday PM: Reports tonight indicate a deal is imminent for ViacomCBS to take a minority stake in the beIN Media’s 700 title Miramax library to the tune of $100M. The deal is expected to close tomorrow. ViacomCBS gets access to distribute the Miramax library via Paramount Pictures and CBS’ sales and marketing units per Variety. Reportedly Paramount will also provide funding to Miramax to develop new projects and revamps from the library, like a Silding Doors TV series and a potential No Country for Old Men series. More as it happens. Calls to ViacomCBS and Miramax were not returned, however, one source with heavy knowledge of the deal says “it’s not closed yet.”
1st Update, Dec. 10 ViacomCBS & Miramax Library Talks Back on as Expected: Even though Viacom sent a letter to Miramax owners beIN Media in early November that they were no longer interested in their award-winning 700-title library, talks are back on just as we reported back then. Such is the nature of hardball negotiations. One of the vital points in talks has been beIN Media continuing to hold some type of share in the library moving forward.
The deal as we’ve been informed entails Viacom taking an equity stake in the library in the low nine figures range. ViacomCBS boss Bob Bakish mentioned at the Vanity Fair conference how the conglom plans to a be a supplier of content to other media congloms boasting mega studio-wide streaming services. Already, Paramount TV Studios and Miramax are co-developing a TV series based on the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, and access to the library would enable ViacomCBS to exploit more Miramax titles as potential revamped movie or TV IP.
Filmyard paid Disney $663M back in 2010 for the studio library originally conceived and ran by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, but that consisted of close to $300M in cash receivables. beIN acquired Miramax back in March 2016.