Weinsteins still working on Miramax deal

Acquisition was anticipated by fest's end

The Cannes Film Festival ended Sunday and there’s still no announcement of the Weinstein brothers’ official takeover of Miramax Films.

That news may not come for a while now: After a month of negotiating, talks between Bob and Harvey Weinstein, financial backer Ron Burkle and the Walt Disney Co. have failed to culminate in new ownership for the specialty shingle, according to sources close to the situation.

The Weinstein brothers had hoped to use Cannes to tout that management of Miramax — the label they launched in 1979 and named after their parents, Miriam and Max — was back in their control. The brothers sold Miramax to Disney in 1993 and ankled the company in 2005.

Burkle, through his Yucaipa Companies, as well as Fortress Investment Group, had agreed to pony up $625 million in cash to buy Miramax from Disney. That’s less than the $700 million that the Mouse House had been looking for. Disney has been demanding the final price come closer to that mark.

Still, Disney was willing to unload the specialty label, which doesn’t fit in well with its overall focus on family and branded fare.

In April, Disney, the Weinstein brothers and Burkle entered into exclusive negotiations to hammer out a deal.

But just how Miramax would be folded into the Weinstein Co. became a sticking point.

It’s been a tough week for the Weinsteins. A pair of lawsuits against the Weinstein Co. last week haven’t helped a company that’s been looking for some hits at the megaplex.

Cathy Konrad filed a $3 million lawsuit against the Weinstein Co. last week, claiming she’s not being included in the development of a fourth “Scream” after having produced the previous three outings. The producer claims she is entitled to produce any sequels.

The Weinstein Co. also lost a bid last week to dismiss a lawsuit by Grammy-winning soul singer Sam Moore, who claims the comedy “Soul Men” violated his trademarks and rights to publicity. The case will go to trial.

For now, Disney is integrating the remaining Miramax films that have yet to be released into its schedule, including the animated “Gnomeo and Juliet” and the Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy “The Switch,” formerly “The Baster.”

Disney would likely distrib the pics even if it finds a buyer for Miramax, with Mouse House receiving a 10% distribution fee for its efforts and the new owners covering marketing costs in return for the B.O.

But what all this now means is that Disney is still seeking a buyer for Miramax.

Brothers Alec and Tom Gores had also offered more than $600 million for Miramax, as did producer David Bergstein through a consortium of investors he assembled.

The negotiations have been conducted in private with all sides declining to officially comment on the talks.

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