Disney Agrees To Miramax Sale
Six months after it was put on the market, Miramax Films has been sold for $660 million to Filmyard Holdings Llc., whose principals are construction executive Ronald Tutor and Colony Capital chairman Tom Barrack individually and through his company, the Walt Disney Co. announced late Thursday.
The sale, which is expected to close between Sept. 10 and year’s end, includes rights to more than 700 film titles, according to the announcement, including Academy Award winners “Chicago,” “Shakespeare in Love” and “No Country for Old Men.”
“Although we are very proud of Miramax’s many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in the statement. “We are delighted that we have found a home for the Miramax brand and Miramax’s very highly regarded motion picture library.”
Speaking for the new partnership, Tutor said: “I am delighted and honored to acquire the Miramax library. On behalf of my partners Tom Barrack and Colony Capital, we look forward to sharing this high-quality content with the world in every form of media for many years to come.”
There were few other details about the transaction, the financing or future plans for Filmyard, which is expected to launch a new movie company that will exploit the library and make at least some new films. Sources have estimated the library comes with outstanding receivables worth more than $150 million, which will help reduce the acquisition cost.
The press release did not mention any other minority investors, such as James Robinson of Morgan Creek, Gulf Capital of Dubai and actor Rob Lowe, who said last week that he was part of the group.
There was also no mention of Pangea Media Group CEO David Bergstein, who first brought the deal to Tutor and has been acting as a consultant on the sale. Tutor and Bergstein have been partners in various film ventures for the past six years, and both are caught up in an involuntary bankruptcy action involving five companies that Bergstein controls. Even as Tutor celebrates his acquisition, he also faces being deposed in the bankruptcy case.
The immediate question is how the new company will handle distribution, both in the domestic and international markets. There were reports that Disney would do the distribution for the first year, until Filmyard can set up its own infrastructure, and that Morgan Creek would handle foreign sales, but neither was confirmed in the announcement. There are at least three completed but unreleased Miramax movies that Disney is expected to bring to market on behalf of the new owners.
There was also no indication in the announcement of how the deal will be financed. It is clear Tutor, Barrack personally and Colony Capital will invest equity, but there will also be a sizable amount that will be borrowed, probably in excess of $200 million. Tutor, CEO of the Tutor Perini construction company, has a fortune estimated at more than $700 million.