A bankruptcy judge on Wednesday approved a $21 million reduction in the sale price of the Weinstein Co., paving the way for Lantern Capital to close the deal on Friday.
Judge Christopher Sontchi overruled objections from celebrities including Quentin Tarantino and Bradley Cooper. Their attorneys had argued that the sale provisions put them at risk of not receiving profit participation payments from Weinstein Co. films, including “Django Unchained” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Lantern, a Dallas-based private equity firm, has agreed to buy the Weinstein Co. for $289 million. Lantern and the Weinstein Co. estate have fought over the last two months over who will be responsible for paying out participations to a long list of A-list actors and actresses.
That issue will now be deferred until after the closing. Lantern will have four months to determine which contracts it wants to assume, and has agreed to pay at least $8.75 million to assume those contracts. A hearing in Delaware bankruptcy court is set for July 18 on that matter, and another is set for July 30.
Attorneys for Cooper and Tarantino raised the concern that Lantern will be acquiring and profiting from Weinstein Co. titles, without a guarantee that profit participants in those films will be compensated. Sontchi noted that the participants’ rights have been preserved under the sale agreement, originally approved in May. As an aside, he also paid a compliment to Cooper.
“‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen,” the judge said. “Mr. Cooper was outstanding.”
Lantern had initially agreed to pay $310 million for the company, but later argued that it has been misled about the unresolved contracts. The conflict between Lantern and the Weinstein Co. nearly torpedoed the deal, until the parties reached an agreement to lower the price to $289 million.