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NY Post Slapped: Fortress Denies Dumping Weinsteins Over Miramax

Fortress denies a report that it has cut ties with The Weinstein Company, leaving open the possibility of yet another play for Miramax

There’s something really annoying about all the posturing that’s gone on with the endless non-sale of Miramax.

Friday’s New York Post story was rookie-transparent. One unnamed “source with direct knowledge” tells the paper that Fortress Capital has cut ties with the Weinsteins over Miramax.

Meanwhile the next sentence cites “sources close to discussions” that the Miramax sale to Colony Capital will close by Wednesday “unless there is a snag.”

Hmmm, think someone might be trying to plant information that might guarantee that Colony and Ron Tutor close their deal?

Too bad no one asked Fortress or The Weinstein Company.

On Saturday, Fortress issued a statement flatly denying the Post report.

“The New York Post’s report that Harvey and Bob Weinstein have lost the financial backing of Fortress Investment Group is utterly false,” the statement read.

“Fortress remains committed to providing financial support for the Weinsteins and Ron Burkle. Our relationship with the Weinsteins and Mr. Burkle, also contrary to today¹s report, remains strong and constructive, and the group has ample financial backing to successfully pursue an acquisition of Miramax. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners in support of their efforts.”

But why would the Post bother reporting that Fortress had cut ties with Weinstein? After all, Ron Tutor (and not Colony Capital, which the Post erroneously positions as the lead buyer of Miramax) is apparently close to signing the $675 million deal he struck with Disney two weeks ago.

That deal ought to close, but reports have been seeping out to WaxWord that Tutor is seeking to put up only $50 million of his own money in this deal. Further, we're hearing from the finance community that Colony Capital is putting in $100 million, Jim Robinson of Morgan Creek was set to invest $75 million – and that means that the group needs more than $300 million in debt financing.

Individuals close to the Tutor camp had told me previously that they weren’t looking for significant debt financing from banks. Now I’m told by others that this isn’t the case.

We’ll know soon enough, because either this deal will close in the next week or so, or it will be back to the bidding table for Disney.

And in that case, apparently Harvey and Bob Weinstein will have the wherewithal to come back with a counter.

That is, If Bob Iger can stand it.