The Walt Disney Co’s sale of Miramax Films to Filmyard Holdings for $663 million — subject to certain adjustments — has been completed, it was announced today by both companies. The actual owners are construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital (led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula), and Qatar Holding. The deal includes rights in over 700 film titles, including Academy Award winners 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.
Back on January 27th, Deadline was first to tell you that the Weinstein Brothers who founded Miramax in 1979 were trying to buy back the Miramax name, because it’s based on their parents’ first names – Max and Miriam. 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. Soon even more potential buyers began kicking the tires and the Weinsteins were in a fierce bidding battle with richer rivals. But then negotiations with the Weinsteins became exclusive, only to fall through.
Then, on January 27th, 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 today after so many frustrating and annoying stops and starts, and bidders and runners-up.
All in all, $660 million is a very good price for Disney 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. Then the company hoped to get around $800 million, then $700 million, for Miramax, 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’d learned that Disney stood to make even more because it also collected distribution fees on theatrically released Miramax and non-Miramax films it distributed on behalf of the buyer for up to a year.
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