Disney has officially broken off talks with Bob and Harvey Weinstein to repurchase Miramax Films. Why did negotiations between the Weinsteins and Disney break down? You guessed it: money.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the man backing the Weinsteins' bid, billionaire Ron Burkle, originally offered $625 million for the company. However, he had second thoughts about the high price tag (due to the complexity of the deal), which would have allowed Miramax's library of 600+ films to be managed and distributed through the Weinstein's current company, Weinstein Co.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that Disney had reopened negotiations with Alec and Tom Gores. The Gores brothers (who are advised by their brother Sam of the Paradigm agency) submitted their bid for Miramax at approximately the same time as the Weinsteins.
In addition to their Miramax bid, the Gores brothers are seeking to purchase Starz Media, a division of Liberty Media Corp. that also includes the film company Overture Films and the home video distributor Anchor Bay. If they acquire Miramax, the Gores' plan would be to use the Starz acquisition as a way to distribute Miramax properties easily and efficiently - thus maximizing the value of their investment.
One thing working against the Gores brothers is their offer, which is reportedly in the $550-600 million range. Originally, Disney had hoped to sell Miramax for $700 million, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them hold out for the best offer possible.
Although their initial discussions with Disney fell apart, it is important to note however that the Weinsteins might not be completely out of the picture yet. The Hollywood Reporter believes that the Weinsteins have "worked out an agreement with Burkle and investors at Fortress Colbeck that would keep Miramax separate from the Weinstein Co." If Burkle is back on board and can offer a better deal than the Gores brothers, maybe the company that Bob and Harvey Weinstein founded in 1979 will make its way back home.
At its peak, Bob and Harvey Weinstein's Miramax was the best and brightest producer of independent films in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the Weinsteins have been unable to duplicate that success under their Weinstein Co. banner. Perhaps its partly nostalgia, but I would like to see what the Weinsteins might do with Miramax, if they regained control of the company, and I hope that Disney reopens negotiations with them again soon.
What do you think of all this Miramax talk? Who do you want running the company?