Reports Friday had the deal officially dead. The movie mogul brothers had teamed up with supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle to purchase the closed imprint from Disney for $625 million, but sources close to the negotiations said things fell through at the last minute when Disney was apparently not satisfied with the amount of money Burkle could raise.
However, the real truth came out yesterday afternoon -- and it has nothing to do with Disney and the potential new ownership group, but instead focuses on the wants of the Weinsteins, Burkle and The Weinstein Company's board of directors. Burkle is ready to throw $300 million into the pot, but insists on complete ownership of Miramax. He will not share ownership with the Weinsteins, but instead will utilize them as "asset managers."
This move isn't greed on Burkle's part, as THR points out, but instead a shrewd business move. If the Weinsteins were to have an equity share in the company and then The Weinstein Company collapsed (not a far-fetched idea given the rumors swirling around it in the past few months ... ) then vendors and other creditors could come after Miramax assets to settle debts. That wouldn't be good for Burkle.
What this means is that negotiations with Disney, which were reportedly nearly done on Friday, are now on hold until Burkle, the Weinsteins and their board of directors can work out this issue.
A statement released Friday from the Weinsteins stated, "The Weinstein brothers, the Weinstein Co. and Ron Burkle are all working toward a deal to purchase and operate Miramax. The parties continue to work diligently toward an agreement." Burkle has since added, "We're in no rush to push a deal together. Everybody is working to get it done. We continue to be optimistic."