This just in from an insider involved in the sale of Miramax from The Walt Disney Company:
Lionsgate has dropped out of the bidding.
Disney won’t comment on this stuff, and neither will Lionsgate.
If true, and the lack of denial makes me think it is, then that leaves two major bidders in the running: The Weinstein Company, and Tom Gores of Platinum.
Every other bidder, including Lionsgate, including Len Blavatnik, think that Disney is asking way too much money for the indie division.
Weinstein’s have a better shot at making the numbers work – they still have myriad partnering deals with Disney, and they know better than anyone the ins and outs of how to wring more money out of "Spy Kids" and "Shakespeare in Love".
Most bidders decided the division wasn’t worth more than $500 million, at most. Disney wants between $600m and $700m. Disney has held the line on the sum it wants – or it may not sell at all.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has turned its focus on getting hold of MGM, where bids are due in just over a week.
I’m told that the top executives at Lionsgate spent most of Monday at MGM, poring over documents.
I’m further told – by a different insider – that Lionsgate has now partnered with another entity to focus seriously on buying MGM. Don’t know who yet.
But it’s getting hot in there.