Why It Doesn’t Make Sense for Weinstein’s TV Division to Go Public

Harvey Weinstein
Ari Perilstein/Getty Images

Imagine Harvey Weinstein having to explain his business decisions to Wall Street on a quarterly basis.

“I just don’t see it,” said media analyst Hal Vogel. “It would be fraught with friction considering he’s not known to be the friendliest of people when it comes to investors poking into his business.”

The Weinstein Co. is a well-established indie operation known for its acquisition, production and marketing chops, awards season campaigning and “the Harvey factor,” the gut instincts and naked aggression displayed by the company’s co-chairman when making crucial decisions on his projects.

On Wednesday the New York Times first reported that the Weinstein Co. was considering spinning off its television division into a public entity, the most recent news of a long-touted prospect. But analysts and bankers alike told Variety that possibility is incredibly slim with or without its namesake co-chairman at the head.

“They may be using that as a foil to increase valuation for a private partner,” Vogel added.

It’s not at all accidental that news of Harvey Weinstein looking to shop around for investment banking firms comes on the eve of the Sun Valley Allen & Co. conference, where it appears he may be floating a trial balloon.

A banker with knowledge of the situation, who declined to speak on the record, said if the company were to go public he would not be surprised if it was listed in Asia, which provides higher multiples than U.S. markets.

But, said the banker, it’s challenging enough to take an entire company public, let alone just a portion, since the operations are intertwined.

In addition to attracting a potential investor, a more feasible reason for proposing the idea of going public is that the very suggestion of doing so could also lay the groundwork to spin the TV division into a separate but still privately held company. If that were the case, Weinstein could secure the funds to expand the television division, investing in networks and projects while sharing the risk.

David Glasser, COO of the 8-year-old Weinstein Co., told Variety Wednesday that the company has 22 reality shows, seven scripted series either on the air or in production along with a handful of projects in development. On Thursday, a company spokesman said the list includes the on-air shows “Project Runway,” “Project Runway All Stars,” “Mob Wives,” “Rodeo Girls,” “Million Dollar Shoppers” and the upcoming programs “Threads” (Lifetime),” “Marco Polo” (Netflix); “Ten Commandments”(WGN), “Scream” (MTV) and “War and Peace” (BBC).

In its TV business, the company functions largely as producers for hire. The number of shows the company actually owns will dictate its worth. Also, many of TWC’s projects have to yet to be aired or scheduled.

Weinstein Co. began investing heavily in TV in late 2013 to diversify beyond its core movie business. The majority of TWC’s TV assets are in smaller cable reality shows, however, which don’t have much syndication value.

During its early years, the company faltered in its expansion plans, acquiring a majority stake in Genius, a publicly-traded home video distribution company that ultimately failed, as well as a controlling stake in the social network ASmallWorld. Weinstein no longer has ownership of either company.

When Miramax, founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 1979, was purchased for $60 million by Disney in 1993, the brothers were never subjected to the quarterly earnings reports and analysts calls that come with being a public company. Miramax was operated as an autonomous subsidiary under the New York-based siblings, who left in 2005 after a nasty divorce with Disney and subsequently founded TWC.




Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 1

Leave a Reply

1 Comment

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. meg conway says:

    I’d like The Weinstein Co to be aware of safety issues in North Carolina, should you ever consider producing here.
    In view of what happened to Sarah Jones I’ve posted about what happened to me when I first moved to NC, unaware of an archaic common law that essentially eliminates corporate liability of companies here, making safety optional vs required for those companies accustomed to turning their backs on people they’ve physically, emotionally and financially harmed, and that’s after the initial physical injury.
    Biltmore Farms Jack Cecil CEO (vanderbilt descendent) and Hartford Insurance Liam McGee CEO (former BofA CEO) worked to eliminate responsibility and accountability for a hazard created by Biltmore Farms on its own property, which caused my fall, permanent disability and inability to work.
    Details of the common law and what Jack Cecil and Liam McGee did are in my petition on change.org here
    Please don’t even visit here Mr. Weinstein until you are aware of what is the unending nightmare of North Carolina; the safety hazards and injuries are just the beginning, what happens afterwards continues the nightmare.
    And may you never find yourself in a North Carolina courtroom, in Buncombe County North Carolina, Asheville, before Judge Powell. It’s there that Judge Powell will state there is no accountability for safety hazards created on property owned by Jack Cecil, Biltmore Farms, at least, not in my case.
    Meg Conway, Asheville NC

More TV News from Variety