As the deadline passed on Monday afternoon to bid on the bankrupt Weinstein Co., it appeared that the major industry players had opted to sit it out.
Miramax, the company founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, decided not to bid, Variety has learned. Now owned by Qatar’s beIN Media, Miramax had appeared to be the strongest challenger to Lantern Capital, the Dallas-based private equity fund that submitted the stalking horse bid last month.
There may be one or two other bidders, but none with the clout of Lantern. That leaves the Dallas fund as the likeliest party to end up owning the company. An auction is set for Friday, assuming that there is more than one bid.
Lantern, run by Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic, offered $310 million in cash, plus the assumption $115 million in debt. They also pledged to keep the company going, while other bidders were said to be more interested in the film library.
Lantern had earlier partnered with Ron Burkle and Maria Contreras-Sweet on a $500 million offer outside of bankruptcy. That deal collapsed after the disclosure of more than $50 million in liabilities, forcing the Weinstein Co. into bankruptcy. Burkle and Contreras-Sweet have not been part of the Lantern bid, though it remains to be seen whether they would align with Lantern later on.
Other players may try to pick off particular properties from Lantern after the sale goes through. Among them could be A+E Networks, which is interested in “Project Runway.”