The co-founders of Lantern Capital met for the first time Friday with the staff of the Weinstein Co. as they move closer to finalizing the purchase of the company in bankruptcy court.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, Mitchell and Brajovic introduced themselves as co-presidents of Lantern Entertainment. They will be running the company pending the hiring of a new CEO.
Mitchell and Brajovic sought to address much of the uncertainty that hangs around the company. The top concern on the staff is whether Lantern will retain the workforce. Lantern had earlier pledged to keep the company as a going concern, and made what many interpreted to be a commitment to keep the current employees.
However, Lantern is now stressing that the “new company” will perhaps have to change its focus and priorities, and that may involve further attrition. The company has already shrunk from about 140 employees last year to less than 80 now, as many have departed for more stable employers.
Mitchell and Brajovic were asked whether the Weinstein employees would have to reapply for their jobs. Brajovic and Mitchell essentially confirmed that they would, indicating that they would evaluate each Weinstein employee individually.
They were also asked whether the new company would keep its focus on film distribution. The co-presidents were non-committal on that point, suggesting that the business plan is still a work in progress. Some employees expressed gratitude that the new executives were communicating with the employees, indicating that little information has been shared with the workforce over the last six months.
Lantern Capital won a judge’s approval to buy the Weinstein Co. for $310 million last month. Lantern is a private equity firm based in Dallas, which has previously focused on real estate and vacation properties.