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Tutor closer to Miramax acquisition

Construction mogul, partners agree to down payment

Ron Tutor is getting closer to building himself a mini studio with Miramax.

The Los Angeles construction magnate and a group of financial partners, that includes Colony Capital, have agreed to pony up the $40 million required by the Mouse House as part of a down payment to move forward with an acquisition of the specialty film label, sources close to the situation told Daily Variety on Wednesday.

Disney has agreed to sell Miramax and its library of 611 films to the group for $650 million, with an additional $25 million as a closing fee.

The $40 million payment is non-refundable and is a corporate maneuver for Disney to feel that its rounds of negotiation with Tutor and the rest of his camp since early June haven’t been in vain, as had been the case with close discussions that took place with Miramax’s original founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and their own heavyhitting financial backer, Ron Burkle. Those talks fell apart in May.

The deposit isn’t unusual in such a deal. It’s “akin to requiring a non-refundable deposit on a house if seller is worried that a buyer won’t close,” said one investment banker.

The payment also signals how serious Tutor is in securing Miramax and locking down a deal sooner than later. Exclusive talks between the companies end today.

The sales could be completed by the end of the week, sources say, but the deal could still fall apart if Tutor and Co. can’t prove where the rest of the funds will come from.

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