A Texas private equity firm has closed its $289 million acquisition of the Weinstein Co., and will seek to revive the studio that was driven into bankruptcy by Harvey Weinstein’s sex assault scandal.
Lantern Capital won approval last week for the transaction from a Delaware bankruptcy judge. The company will relaunch as Lantern Entertainment, with offices in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic, the co-presidents of the company, issued a statement Monday announcing the sale.
“Over the last several months, we have immersed ourselves in the formation of Lantern Entertainment,” Mitchell and Brajovic said. “Throughout all our conversations with employees, creatives and industry professionals, we are inspired by the collective commitment and support extended to the launch of our new company, which is anchored by creativity in a meritocracy-based culture. Across all disciplines, we are extremely motivated to become a forward-thinking force in this industry.”
The equity holders, including Bob and Harvey Weinstein, will not recoup anything in the sale. The proceeds will largely go to pay off lawyers and bankruptcy professionals, and the Weinstein Co.’s secured creditors, including Union Bank. Anything that may be left over will be divided among the unsecured creditors, including alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.
The company will take control of the Weinstein’s 277-film library, as well as TV shows including “Project Runway.” The company also holds at least two unreleased films, including “The Upside” starring Kevin Hart and “The Current War” starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The new owners have yet to lay out their vision for the company. Last week, the company laid off 26 employees in marketing, distribution and public relations — more than a third of the remaining workforce.
Also unclear is whether the company will be able to exploit the films in its library without assuming the talent contracts that go with them, and paying off any unpaid residuals. That issue nearly scuttled the sale, as Lantern and the Weinstein Co. each argued that the other should be responsible for paying to cure those contracts. The issue will be addressed in a series of bankruptcy court hearings still to come.
Four members of the Weinstein Co. board, including Chairman Bob Weinstein, stepped down upon the closing of the transaction.