The studio had already said in October that it wants to refinance much of the debt taken on last December when investor Ron Tutor, and Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital, paid Disney $660M for Miramax. We just didn’t know how much it wanted to raise and where the cash would go. But Bloomberg says that two people “with knowledge of the situation” have disclosed that Miramax plans to sell asset-backed bonds that will enable the company to take advantage of today’s low interest rates and assume more debt. It also would be used to partly repay the investors. They initially put in $408M, now down to $308M, and would continue to keep $100M at Miramax. Colony would benefit from a $142M dividend. Miramax’s collateral would include its 700 films and 14 television series as well as rights to books and development projects. The company has been busily cutting digital licensing deals, including one this week with Netflix to stream movies in the UK and Ireland. Bloomberg says that Barclays Capital and Jefferies Group are managing the bond sale.
The long-running drama of MGM should play out by tomorrow when creditors decide whether or not to embrace a restructuring package that puts Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber in control or instead give the MGM assets to Carl Icahn and Lionsgate. Elsewhere, Miramax Films, the other endless custody battle, is starting to come together. Reports have former News Corp exec Mike Lang in talks to become CEO, and MGM television coprexy Jim Packer also in discussions to take a post. All this is contingent on the sale of the company by Disney to Filmyard Holdings that takes place at year’s end. That purchase is backed by Ron Tutor and Colony Capital.
Back on July 7th and again on July 8th, I was first to report that the notorious film financier David Bergstein “was being pushed aside” and would have no role in Miramax once it was purchased from Disney by construction magnate Ron Tutor and Santa Monica-based Colony Capital. (I wrote: “As for the notorious film financier David Bergstein, I’ve learned his role is over as soon as the deal is finished. ‘He gets paid for packaging the deal and consulting on the transaction. Then that’s it,’ an insider tells me.”) On Sunday, Tutor confirmed my reporting in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. But I’m bewildered why the trade tried to claim he “unleashed a bombshell” that there will be no role in Miramax for his pal Bergstein. How utterly classless of The Hollywood Reporter — and Alex Ben Block, who knows better – not to give Deadline credit. Then again, THR and Variety, too, steal so much content from Deadline without credit on an almost daily basis, it’s clear the trades have no shame anymore.