ViacomCBS Nears Deal for Minority Stake in Miramax (EXCLUSIVE)

Scream 4 Movie
Courtesy of Dimension Films

ViacomCBS is close to a deal to buy a minority stake in Miramax, according to two individuals with knowledge of the talks.

The pact could be finalized as early as Friday. The investment is said to be in the neighborhood of $100 million. As part of the arrangement, ViacomCBS will have the right to distribute Miramax’s film library of about 700 titles worldwide through Paramount Pictures and CBS’ sales and marketing units. The deal also calls for Paramount and ViacomCBS to provide ongoing resources to Miramax to help develop new projects and intellectual property, as well as reboots of library assets.

Miramax was one of the leading forces in independent film for decades. Its list of Oscar winners and commercial hits includes “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “The Crying Game,””Good Will Hunting” and the “Scream” franchise. ViacomCBS wants the library and the IP assets to help fuel its in-house streaming platforms such as Pluto TV and CBS All Access, but it also wants the tonnage of the film library to distribute around the world through Paramount’s existing infrastructure.

Founded in 1979, Miramax was run for decades by brothers Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein helped trigger a broader reckoning in Hollywood after more than 80 women have come forward to accuse him for sexual assault and harassment. He’s now awaiting a criminal trial next month in New York federal court on sexual assault charges.

The Weinsteins sold Miramax and related labels to Disney in 1993. The brothers decamped in 2005 to launch Weinstein Co., which imploded amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal and was liquidated in 2018.

Disney sold Miramax’s assets in 2010 to Filmyard Holdings, an investment group consisting of Colony Capital, Tutor-Saliba Corporation and Qatar Investment Authority. Miramax was then sold by its private equity owners in 2016 to beIN Media Group, a Qatar-based media company largely focused on sports. In 2017, industry veteran Bill Block was tapped as CEO of Miramax.

Talks between ViacomCBS and Miramax broke down in November, but reignited earlier this month. Moelis & Co. is representing Miramax in the transaction.

A spokesperson for ViacomCBS declined to comment. A spokesperson for Miramax did not immediately have comment.