The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) has reached an agreement to sell storied arthouse-film company Miramax -- and its valuable library of more than 600 movies -- to a consortium of private investors for $660 million.
The deal follows years of speculation over Miramax's fate after the 2005 departure of founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein. In 1993, Disney paid the brothers $80 million for the studio, known for hits like Pulp Fiction and Chicago, and let them run it until their exit.
Los Angeles construction billionaire Ronald Tutor and his partner, Colony Capital, a private real-estate-investment company also based in LA, lead the consortium buying the studio. Together, they will invest $300 million. Other investors include James Robinson, chairman of film studio Morgan Creek, and financier David Bergstein.
Colony Capital, which manages an estimated $30 billion in real-estate holdings, is the majority owner of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. The investment firm also helped bail out photographer Annie Liebovitz by financing a deal to buy her back catalog.
A Failed Bid to Regain Miramax
Last October, Disney said it would cut Miramax's staff by 80 employees. Earlier this year, Disney closed the studio's offices in New York and Los Angeles.
The deal is blow to the Weinstein brothers, who had hoped to somehow regain control of the studio -- or at least the library, which includes some of the most well-received films of the last two decades. Under the brothers, Miramax earned more than 200 Academy Award nominations and won Best Picture four times.
"If there's ever an opportunity to make a deal to buy it back, we would certainly take it, and there isn't much in the world that would make our 83-year-old mother happier," Harvey Weinstein told Bloomberg earlier this year. The company is named after the brothers' mother, Miriam, and father, Max.
As recently as three weeks ago, the Weinsteins had been working with billionaire Ron Burkle on a bid for their old company. The sale to the Tutor and Colony consortium, first reported by TheWrap, is expected to close in the next few weeks.