For Sale: One scandal-ridden film production and distribution company named for an alleged rapist. Sounds like a tough pitch to me but one private equity firm is already stepping up as a potential buyer. From Bloomberg:
Colony Capital, founded by Tom Barrack, has agreed to immediately provide cash to the film studio, according to a statement Monday. No other details of the talks were disclosed. A deal would give the investment firm a stake in shows such as “Project Runway” and award-winning films such as “The Artist.”
“We believe that Colony’s investment and sponsorship will help stabilize the company’s current operations,” Weinstein board member Tarak Ben Ammar said in the statement.
That investment is a short-term fix intended to keep the lights on while most of the company’s board has resigned. But CNN reports Colony Capital is also in talks for, “a potential sale of all or a significant portion of the company’s assets.” That’s at odds with what Bob Weinstein told the Wall Street Journal Friday:
On Friday [Bob Weinstein] denied a Wall Street Journal report that the company was “exploring a sale or shutdown and is unlikely to continue as an independent entity.”
“Our banks, partners and shareholders are fully supportive of our company, and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown of the company,” Bob Weinstein said in response.
He claimed that “business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”
But that is far from the truth.
Barely any work is getting done at the company’s offices in New York and Los Angeles, sources told CNN.
In a story published last week, the Washington Post described Thomas Barrack, the billionaire founder of Colony Capital, as one of President Trump’s oldest and best friends, albeit one who is critical of some of the president’s views on controversial issues:
Few people are closer to Trump than Barrack, his friend for three decades. Barrack helped rescue Trump’s real estate empire years ago. He was the top fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He turned down a Cabinet offer, preferring to be an outside adviser, although his name is still mentioned as a potential White House chief of staff should Trump decide to choose a new one. Above all, Barrack has remained unfailingly loyal to Trump, whom he sees as a shrewd politician…
“He thinks he has to be loyal to his base,” Barrack said. “I keep on saying, ‘But who is your base? You don’t have a natural base. Your base now is the world and America, so you have all these constituencies; show them who you really are.’ In my opinion, he’s better than this.”
“I tell him all the time: I don’t like the rhetoric,” Barrack, who runs a large real estate investment company, said at his Manhattan office.
Barrack also has a history with the Weinsteins. In 2010 he bought Miramax, the brothers’ previous company, from Disney after the brothers left and formed the Weinstein Company. In general, Barrack is considered a specialist in distressed assets. A 2010 New York magazine profile of Barrack listed one of his personal rules for success: “befriend the bewildered.” That certainly seems to fit in this case.