The movie company co-founded by disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein has filed bankruptcy with a “stalking horse” deal to sell its assets to a private-equity firm for $424.5 million.
The Weinstein Co.’s Chapter 11 filing late Monday came five months after Harvey Weinstein resigned as chief executive amid allegations of sexual misconduct going back decades.
According to court papers, an affiliate of Dallas private-equity firm Lantern Capital has offered to buy Weinstein Co.’s assets, including a library of 277 films, for $310 million in cash. With an additional $114.5 million in assumption of liabilities, the total offer is about $424.5 million.
The “stalking horse” bid sets the floor for a court-supervised auction at which Lantern will have to compete with other potential buyers.
“The board selected Lantern in part due to Lantern’s commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern,” Weinstein Co. said in a news release. “The company hopes that this orderly sale process under the supervision of the bankruptcy court will allow it to maximize the value of the company’s assets for the benefit of its creditors and other stakeholders.”
Lantern had been part of a group of investors, also including billionaire Ron Burkle, that offered to acquire Weinstein Co. for $500 million. That deal collapsed two weeks ago after the Mediaco group discovered that the studio had an additional $55 million to $65 million in debt.
“It is still too early to tell if the Weinstein Co. will get a second act as a stand-alone company,” Deadline Hollywood reported.
The bankruptcy filing shields Weinstein Co. from an array of lawsuits, including those filed by women who contend that the company facilitated its co-founder’s misconduct by Mr. Weinstein. “Those women will now have to line up behind the studio’s secured creditors — who themselves are likely to be paid pennies on the dollar, according to bankruptcy lawyers,” The New York Times said.
In its statement Monday, Weinstein Co. also said it was releasing anyone “who suffered or witnessed any form of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein” from nondisclosure agreements.”