Miramax, the once-gold plated studio that owns films like “Shakespeare in Love” and “Gangs of New York,” is looking for a buyer, sources familiar with the situation confirmed.
The brand created by Harvey and Bob Weinstein could be a significant plum for buyers starved for content to fill expanding digital platforms, because Miramax controls a library of about 700 films that includes “My Left Foot,” “Sex, Lies and Videotape” and “The Piano.”
A report from Bloomberg quoted sources saying the studio hopes to attract bids of up to $1 billion, though the current owners — led by Colony Capital and Qatar Holding — declined to comment. The studio was said to be interviewing investment banks about a transaction.
Qatar, Colony and builder Ron Tutor bought Miramax in 2010 from the Walt Disney Co. for $660 million, though Tutor later sold his stake to Qatar Holding. The studio theoretically could be of interest to expanding streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon or to studios like MGM and Lionsgate that are looking to bulk up their libraries.
An individual close to the situation said Lionsgate had eyeballed Miramax as an acquisition target “again and again” in recent years. But the company known for “The Hunger Games” and the “Divergent” films felt Miramax wanted too much. The $1 billion pricetag floated this week is also “wildly inflated and should be something like half of that,” said the source, who declined to be identified while discussing sensitive financial dealings.
Analysts said it was hard to put a value on Miramax, particularly because there has been a dearth of film library transactions in recent years and because no information has been published about how much revenue the company’s library produces.
The Weinsteins founded the company 36 years ago and named it for their parents, Miriam and Max. The brothers quickly became known as a creative force in the industry, before selling to Disney in 1993. The Mouse House, in turn, flipped the business to the new investor group in 2010. The Weinsteins then re-entered the picture in 2013, reaching an agreement to produce and distribute films and TV shows for Miramax.
Representatives of both Miramax and Colony Capital declined to comment.
Dave McNary contributed to this report.
(Pictured: Harvey and Bob Weinstein at the “Gangs of New York” party in 2002)