Weinstein Company may be putting itself up for sale

2017-10-17 14:52
 

New York — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

The company said on Monday that it will receive an immediate cash infusion from Colony Capital and is in negotiations for the potential sale of all or a significant portion of the company responsible for producing films such as Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight and Lion.

Colony Capital, the private-equity arm of Colony NorthStar, was founded by Thomas Barrack, a close adviser to President Donald Trump. Barrack chaired Trump's presidential inaugural committee.

'Severe backlash'

Harvey Weinstein was fired last week by the film production company he helped create. The allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein span decades and include many of the film industry's leading actresses.

The backlash has been severe as more women go public with their interactions with Weinstein.

Law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe are taking a new look at past allegations. (Read more here)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revoked his membership, as has the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

'A fire sale'

"This has got to be a fire sale," said Richard Levick, chairman and CEO of crisis-management firm Levick International. He added that while he doesn't think anyone would be interested in buying the Weinstein name, they might be interested in "buying the pieces."

Amazon Studios, the growing film arm of Amazon, cut ties with the Weinstein company last week. Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore and director David O. Russell scrapped an untitled Amazon Studios series that was being produced by The Weinstein Co.

Showtime has threatened to pull out of an Oliver Stone drama in development, Guantanamo, because Weinstein Co. is a producer.

"The stink from this is so substantial that it makes almost anyone to try to defend them to become an untouchable," Levick said.

Word of a potential sale comes just three days after Bob Weinstein, who helped found the company with his brother, Harvey, said that a sale was not an option.

"We are pleased to invest in The Weinstein Company and to help it move forward," Colony said on Monday. "We will help return the company to its rightful iconic position in the independent film and television industry."

Now, Colony will have to weigh a sale price against "brand liability," Levick said. This includes unknown things such as how many more women may come forward.

The list of women alleging harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein continues to grow. More than 30 women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd — have spoken out. 

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