Ron Burkle and Maria Contreras-Sweet are expected to meet on Wednesday with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, sources told Variety, as they seek a way forward on the purchase of the faltering Weinstein Co.
The meeting is a signal that the bidders are still interested in pulling off a deal if possible. Last week, the $500 million purchase fell apart after Schneiderman’s office filed a discrimination suit alleging that the company abetted Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. The attorney general’s office sought wide-ranging oversight of the company, causing the bid group to balk.
Schneiderman also attacked aspects of the deal, saying the purchasers’ plan to establish a “victims’ fund” amounted to little more than window-dressing. The attorney general also blasted a plan to promote David Glasser, who was COO under Weinstein, to become CEO. Schneiderman alleged that Glasser was an active enabler of Weinstein’s harassment, and should not be left in charge of the new company.
The meeting, which has been rumored for the past week, should help establish whether the deal can go forward. Burkle — the billionaire who is said to be putting in 20% of the equity — and Contreras-Sweet, the former head of the Small Business Administration, were both rankled by the attorney general’s intervention. Among other demands, the attorney general’s office requested an independent monitor that would oversee the company’s sexual harassment policies and practices.
Schneiderman’s office declined to comment on the meeting.
On Friday night, the Weinstein Co. board announced that it had fired Glasser “for cause.” In the wake of the attorney general’s accusations, it is uncertain whether Glasser will have any role with the new company. The bidders have sought to distance themselves from Glasser without ruling out rehiring him at the new company.