Morgan Creek founder James Robinson -- who had been prepared to put up as much as $100 million toward Ron Tutor's $660 million purchase of Miramax -- has pulled out over terms of his role in the company, a spokesman for Morgan Creek told TheWrap.
Robinson's exit, first reported Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times, means Tutor will either have to make up the money himself or start seeking additional outside investors.
Morgan Creek's role was to sell Miramax's movies. The loss of Robinson means Tutor and his group will have to find someone else to be in charge of the studio's 700-title library.
Moreover Robinson's departure leaves controversial film financier David Bergstein as the person involved in the Miramax deal with the most Hollywood experience. Bergstein was one of the deal's architects and has been serving in an advisory capacity.
The Times also reported that another potential investor, retired engineer and philanthropist Jerome Swartz, pulled out along with his expected $25 million to $50 million.
Robinson, however, never put any cash up as part of the $40 million non-refundable deposit that Tutor and his investors used to secure the Miramax purchase last July. Part of his hesitancy, was that, boasting the most film business experience of the investors, he hoped to get a more significant role in the company, according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations.
Tutor, apparently, was not able to devise a part that was attractive enough to induce the veteran executive to come on board.
Robinson never actually indicated how much he was going to put in for the deal. Tutor was to put in $100 million, Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital was to put in $100 million, and $300 million was to come from debt financing through various banks.
The remaining $100 million was to be contributed by the other partners, one of whom was said to be Schwartz. Where the difference will come from now that the philanthropist has abandoned the negotiations is not certain, although the investors still anticipate having financing in place by the December deadline, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks.
Tutor has shown a willingness to pony up more cash to claim Miramax when his partners have wavered or withdrawn. As negotiations drew to a close with Disney in July, Tutor put up the full $40 million deposit when Barrack balked at putting down his half.