Los Angeles – On Saturday, reports began to surface that representatives for Weinstein Company LLC and Miramax Film Corp. have discussions over a potential deal that would reunite two of the most powerful executives in the independent film world with the studio that made them famous. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Harvey Weinstein, CEO of Weinstein Co., and Miramax Chairman Tom Barrack, began discussing a potential match weeks ago – however, several issues remain before the deal could be concluded. The discussion has also been picked up by entertainment industry publication Variety.
Should the companies decide to combine, the combined company would be one of the most influential players in the world of independent film. Miramax has a library of more than 700 titles while Weinstein Co. Has close to 300, some of which are currently controlled by financial backer Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS).
A deal would also be extra important for Harvey Weinstein as it would return control of the company named after his parents, Miriam and Max, as it would return control of the company following a bitter corporate divorce following the sale of Miramax to Disney (NYSE: DIS).
In 2010, five years after the Weinstein brothers left Miramax, Disney began trying to sell the studio. Weinstein was a top contender to buy it; however, he eventually lost to a $663 million offer from Filmyard Holdings LLC, an entity backed by a consortium including Mr. Barrack’s private-equity firm, Colony Capital LLC, and the Qatari Investment Authority. The new owners moved quickly to find fresh sources of revenue from Miramax’s film library, striking deals with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE:LGF), and Hulu LLC (a division of Disney).
While some sources believe the deal is a long way from being completed, it would have the potential to shake up distribution, especially online – as the movie industry has generally been wary of the internet. Furthermore, the combined company would be well positioned either as a target or to make a play of one of the major studios.
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