“Project Runway” LIfetime

The Weinstein Company will identify the opportunities for a possible spinoff of its television division in the next four to six weeks, according to a source close to the company. The company is looking to retain an investment bank next week at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley and will proceed into deeper consideration of a sale, taking the company public, or raising a large sum, that person added.

According to a person familiar with the matter, several suitors have approached the Weinstein Co. over the last three to four months, but the company really had its interest piqued in the last 60 days.

Weinstein Company declined to comment.

At present, the independent studio is producing 22 reality shows, seven scripted shows and has another handful of shows in development. Former Miramax head of production Meryl Poster is president of the television division.

Most of the company’s reality assets are smaller cable shows that don’t have much backend, making a public offering likely a longshot. Although there has been a recent boom in acquisitions of unscripted production companies, including Magical Elves, 495 Productions and Left Field Pictures, those companies benefited from having hands-on producers who could dive in and start producing shows. While Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the company, has proven himself a savvy businessman outside the feature film world, the TV division does not have the same assets as some of the other companies that have sold recently.

The television division launched three years ago. In recent months, four projects that began in film development were transferred over into television, as both series and miniseries, at Harvey Weinstein’s request.

If Weinstein were to sell the television side of the company, assets would include shows like “Mob Wives” and “Project Runway,” the latter of which is now in its 13th season.

Weinstein is also moving into the scripted world with “Marco Polo,” a martial arts drama picked up by Netflix and “The Ten Commandments” on WGN America.

In late 2013, the company negotiated a lending arrangement with Union Bank that made $370 million available to Weinstein, $150 million of which which was earmarked for television.

The New York Times first reported news of the possible sale.

 

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