Miramax Deal “95%” Done
Colony Capital Now Leading Ron Tutor’s Miramax Negotiations

Back on July 8th I was the first to tell you that construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula had joined together to negotiate the acquisition of Miramax from Disney. And so that deal finally gets done tonight after so many frustrating and annoying stops and starts, and bidders and runners-up. (Announcement below.) Still, this was relativity speedy considering that Colony Capital only a month ago entered the deal as a big equity provider matching Tutor’s equity of several hundred million dollars. So I have to ask: Are bidding war losers Harvey and Bob Weinstein crying into their beer tonight?

All in all, $660 million is a very good price for the company because film library values have taken a hit as DVD/video has flattened. True, Disney once placed a sky-high $1.2 billion pricetag on the Miramax library. The studio hoped to get around $800 million, then $700 million, and this number comes awfully close to that. The final figure exceeds the $625M-$650M which the Weinstein brothers/Ron Burkle/Fortress-Colbeck partnership seemed ready to pay until talks broke down. Due diligence showed that Miramax is sitting on a lot of cash, as much as $300M in receivables. Also, I’ve learned that Disney stands to make even more because it also will collect distribution fees on theatrically released Miramax and non-Miramax films it distributes on behalf of the buyer for up to a year.

Jeez, it seems like a lifetime but really only since January when Deadline broke the news that the Weinsteins wanted to buy back the Miramax name from Disney and was already making moves towards that goal. After the company that put them on the moviedom map wound up defunct at the Mouse House, even more potential buyers began kicking the tires. Soon, the Weinsteins were in a fierce bidding battle with richer rivals. The two brothers founded Miramax in 1979; it combined the first names of their parents — Max and Miriam. So obviously there’s always been a strong emotional tie because “there isn’t much in the world that would make our 83-year-old mother happier,” Harv told Deadline. The bros sold Miramax to Disney in 1993, but left behind the name and the library when they walked away because of a money feud with Michael Eisner and started the The Weinstein Company in 2005. Trouble is, they’ve never been able to duplicate their success at Miramax. Now they can’t go home again. But instead maybe they’ll sue.

What else happens now? As I’ve previously reported, Colony Capital’s Nanula will be the key person picking a CEO and CFO from the usual roster of experienced movie executives. As an insider told me, “He’ll make sure Miramax doesn’t end up hiring someone who’ll use distribution as an excuse to go into production. Because that would be disastrous.” So get those resumes ready, Hollywood.

Burbank, California, July 29, 2010 — The Walt Disney Company announced today the sale of Miramax Films to Filmyard Holdings LLC for over $660 million subject to certain adjustments. Partners in Filmyard include Los Angeles businessmen Ron Tutor, Tom Barrack, Colony Capital LLC and other individuals. The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and is expected to close between September 10, 2010 and the end of the calendar year.

The sale of Miramax Films includes rights in over 700 film titles, including Academy Award winners like Chicago, Shakespeare in Love and No Country for Old Men. Also included are non-film assets, such as certain books, development projects and the “Miramax” name.

“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,” said Robert A. Iger, Disney’s President and CEO. “We are delighted that we have found a home for the Miramax brand and Miramax’s very highly regarded motion picture library.”

“I am delighted and honored to acquire the Miramax library,” said Ron Tutor. “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.”

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.