With their lifeline account settled, Weinsteins eye production coin
Having just made a final $40 million payment to settle its years-old credit lifeline with Goldman Sachs, The Weinstein Company is now mulling a new production fund, reviewing pitches from banks and other finance groups to assemble as much as $200 million for the making of movies and TV shows.
Though it was reported last weekend that TWC was in ongoing talks for a $150 million revolving credit facility through Union Bank, two sources involved with the deal say it actually closed last month — allowing the Weinsteins to pay off the last big chunk of what it owed Goldman from a 2010 investment many observers saw as a lifeline for the then-struggling distrib.
TWC is now scrutinizing packages of between $100 million and $200 million in debt financing. Combined with Union Bank coin, new money will be used foremostly to rev up television and film production, but also allow the Weinsteins more flexibility to expand their acquisitions and fledgling VOD business. TWC has indeed accelerated TV production in recent months with shows like “Project Runway” spinoffs and VH1’s “Mob Wives.”
In 2010, Goldman and Assured Guaranty helped wipe $450 million off TWC’s books in a deal that gave the indie more breathing room than it had had in years. The structure of that deal later changed, and Goldman acquired cash flows from (and a lien against) 200 TWC films — movies Bob and Harvey Weinstein have been slowly buying back.
Those titles still in Goldman’s hands remain as the only tie between TWC and Goldman Sachs. Insiders say the indie has already paid off more than $100 million to Goldman for the films (whose cash flows are counted as payment against the debt while Goldman holds them).
TWC and Union Bank shopped their $150 million package — closed at a relatively low 4% interest rate — to other lenders as 100% collateralized, based on output deals with companies including Showtime and Anchor Bay.
Last week, TWC signed an exclusive pact with Netflix for titles including “The Artist,” “Undefeated,” and “W.E.” While that pact wasn’t part of Union’s $150 million facility, the new agreement could be used to expand it, or TWC could leverage it for future deals it is currently considering.
TWC’s movie production side has stayed active with Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and the Bradley Cooper-toplined “Silver Linings Playbook.”