Indie war chest

Weinsteins unveil investor roster

New York – Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s nascent media entity, the Weinstein Co., said Monday that it has raised $490 million in private equity from a group of investors including French commercial network TF1, Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications, Goldman Sachs, financier Vivi Nevo and hedge funds Perry Capital and GLG Partners.

Also chipping in are Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, who have each invested $10 million through separate investment companies.

TF1 is backing the sibs to the tune of $15 million. TWC is expected to create a distribution partnership with the Gallic unit, to be called TFW, that will replace the former TFM bond that shared by TF1 and Miramax.

As part of that deal, the Weinsteins will move pay TV programming in France to TF1’s 66%-owned satellite platform TPS from Canal Plus.

Advances from vendors eager to work with the Weinstein Co. have added in another nine figures in funding.

Tally of $490 million from about 20 investors unveiled Monday exceeds TWC’s estimates: Earlier this month a SEC filing revealed that the brothers were counting on as much as $420 million in private equity funding.

Other investors backing TWC include luxury goods manufacturer LVMH, Japanese Internet and financing giant Softbank and communications services group WPP.

People close to the company say TWC will now go about adding as much as $500 million in additional debt financing to the mix.

Harvey Weinstein said Monday that the investment offering — brokered via Goldman Sachs and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison — was oversubscribed and that the list of potential backers had to be whittled down.

“This is an extremely exciting day for us,” he added. “We are thrilled with the important relationships we have formed with our investors over the past few months.”

Also Monday the company named its board, which will include Ben Ammar, Ziff Brothers chairman Dirk Ziff, amfAR founding chairman Mathilde Krim, Goldman advisory director Andrew Metcalfe and Richard Koenigsberg, a partner at accounting firm Spielman, Koenigsberg & Parker. The Weinsteins are co-chairmen of the company.

TWC is angling to bloom as a full media entity with tentacles in theatrical, homevid, cable, publishing and Internet businesses. Funds raised so far can serve as general working capital for the company to spend in ramping up various areas.

A source close to the deal said the company’s immediate attention would be focused on its theatrical output. TWC, which includes the Dimension Films genre label, will theatrically handle its own domestic marketing and distribution, and the company’s first release will be “Derailed,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen, rolling out Nov. 11.

Further pics include “The Libertine,” “Transamerica” and “Mrs. Henderson Presents.”

TWC has yet to unveil specifics of its homevid plans. Unit is said to be angling a takeover of fledgling music network Fuse to shore up its cable presence.

Unit’s TV plans have recently been coming to the fore: The Weinstein Co. is said to be bringing aboard Barbara Schneeweiss to develop a slate for the small screen that will include a pilot of Alexander McCall Smith’s “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” with Richard Curtis writing and Anthony Minghella at the helm (Daily Variety, Oct. 24).

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