Bob Weinstein assured staffers that payroll obligations at the Weinstein Company will be met and said he is working to sell the embattled indie studio to a buyer who will keep it operating. The Weinstein Company is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy after a deal to sell itself to a group of investors led by billionaire Ron Burkle and former Small Business Administration chief Maria Contreras-Sweet collapsed on Tuesday. A Chapter 11 filing could come as early as next week.
“The board is still in discussions with potential buyers who want to keep the company and employees as a going concern,” Weinstein wrote to employees. “That has been one of our main goals and we are still pursuing it. Payroll obligations will be continued to be met.”
Lionsgate is possibly interested in buying parts of the Weinstein Company’s film and television library, but would not want to own the business outright. Lantern Capital is believed to be interested in acquiring the entire company. Burkle and Contreras-Sweet may also try to purchase the studio or its assets if it enters bankruptcy. The deal to purchase the Weinstein Company fell apart after the buyers found out that the debt levels were more than $50 million higher than they had been told.
The Weinstein Company has been running on fumes after reports broke last October that its co-founder Harvey Weinstein had allegedly harassed or assaulted dozens of women. His accusers include such stars as Mira Sorvino, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Weinstein has denied the allegations and insisted that any encounters were consensual.
The indie studio fielded a number of major hits, including “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” As the fallout has worsened, staffers have exited the company. Its 150 headcount has shrunk to roughly 90 people.
Here’s the full text of Bob Weinstein’s email:
I wanted to keep everyone updated in what is obviously an incredibly fluid situation. The board is still in discussions with potential buyers who want to keep the company and employees as a going concern. That has been one of our main goals and we are still pursuing it. Payroll obligations will be continued to be met.
I understand this is a stressful time for everyone and your patients[sic] and support during this time is very much appreciated by me and the board. Until there is something more specific to address you with the need for a video town hall would lead to more questions than answers. I will continue to update you and when the time is proper to announce something more specific, then we will have the town hall meeting.