Disney in exclusive talks with Weinsteins

Sides negotiating $625 million deal for Miramax assets

Disney has entered into an exclusive negotiating period with the Weinstein brothers and their financial backers for the rights to most of the Miramax library.

Sources close to the situation confirmed that the sides have agreed to a short exclusive window for negotiating a deal pegged at about $625 million, most of it upfront in cash. It’s also understood that Disney has decided to hang on to some of the films that were previously included in the package offered for sale.

It’s unclear which titles have been pulled out of the package. Miramax also has a number of titles that have yet to be released, including animated comedy “Gnomeo and Juliet,” the Sam Worthington-Helen Mirren starrer “The Debt,” Jennifer Aniston-Jason Bateman laffer “The Switch” and Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest.”

Sources cautioned that the deal under consideration is highly complex and that there’s no assurance that the brothers and their backers, who include billionaire Ron Burkle, will come to terms on an agreement. The negotiating window is fairly short, but longer than the two days that has been speculated.

Disney originally had an asking price of $700 million for Miramax. With some of the titles taken off the table, the

Mouse is said to be comfortable with the valuation of the remaining 600-plus film titles at around $625 million.

The Weinstein brothers, of course, have a strong emotional attachment to the Miramax brand, which they launched in

1979 and built into the premier indie film distrib. Disney acquired Miramax in 1993 for about $80 million. Brothers

Harvey and Bob Weinstein left the Mouse fold in 2005 to launch the Weinstein Co. shingle.

A Disney rep declined comment.

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