Ron Tutor, investors near deal for specialty label
The Mouse House may not collect the minimum $700 million it was seeking to unload Miramax Films, but it’s getting closer. Maybe.While a sale of Miramax has been reported as “imminent” for months, the latest round has Disney hammering out a deal to move the specialty label and library of 611 films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “The English Patient” off its lot for $650 million to $675 million, and into the hands of bidders headed by Los Angeles construction magnate Ron Tutor and a consortium of investors that include private equity firm Colony Capital, film financier David Bergstein, Morgan Creek’s James Robinson and Middle Eastern moneymen, among several others, according to sources familiar with the talks. At least $300 million will come from Tutor and Colony, with the rest from partners and debt. Miramax will live on as a production and distribution entity, releasing only a few films each year. Bergstein is not expected to run the new company. He has been an adviser to Tutor and his team. The paperwork is expected to be finalized by the end of the month, after an extensive review of Miramax’s books has been completed. But there have been many times over the past few months that Disney was about to sign a deal to hand the keys back to Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Talks have taken place for six months between Disney and bidders that have included the Weinsteins, as well as Tom and Alec Gores. But there are obstacles for the Tutor group deal to wrap up. Lawyers will need to work overtime to make sure all sides sign off. Sources this week signaled to Daily Variety that the Weinsteins remain contenders for the company with an offer backed by supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. The Weinsteins still claim ownership of at least 17 titles in the Miramax library and how those films can be exploited in the future. Disney is still dating pics it will distrib through the existing Miramax banner. On Thursday, it skedded the Helen Mirren thriller “The Debt” for Dec. 29. Thriller “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is set for Jan. 21. Reps for Disney, Tutor and Colony declined to comment.