No Fortress-Backed Deal For Movie Studio Miramax

May 25 2010 | 10:02am ET

Despite confident words two weeks ago, the Fortress Investment Group-backed bid for movie studio Miramax Films was not announced at the Cannes Film Festival, which ended Sunday, and, according to reports, the deal is either dead or, at best, on life support.

The deal would have put Miramax back in the hands of founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who sold the studio to the Walt Disney Co. in 1993. It was backed by Fortress and private equity billionaire Ronald Burkle, each having pledged about half of the proposed $650 million purchase price. But according to The Wall Street Journal, Disney has formally ended its months-long talks with the Weinsteins, with the complex structure of the proposed deal blamed for its collapse.

Other reports merely have the deal on the brink of collapse. The Weinsteins on Friday said they were still “working towards a deal to purchase and operate Miramax.”

Disney certainly has no interest in holding on to Miramax, having all but shut down the studio. It also announced plans last year to cut half of its staff and move the studio from New York, where is has been based since its founding in 1978, to Burbank, Calif.

Disney may restart talks with other interested parties in Miramax, including private equity billionaires Alec and Tom Gores.


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