The Weinstein Company in Exclusive Negotiations for Sale to Maria Contreras-Sweet Group

Obama cabinet member ponies up $475 million to turn TWC into female-led studio

Last Updated: January 23, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

A group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet is in exclusive negotiations to purchase The Weinstein Company, TheWrap has confirmed with an individual close to the bidding process. The bid, which counts Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Enterprises and Lantern Capital as minority partners, is roughly $475 million. That figure “will take care of” the company’s outstanding debut, we’re told.

It is currently unclear if Burkle will get a board seat should this go through. After all, Contreras-Sweet wants a female-majority (but not exclusive) board at her new version of The Weinstein Company (TWC). David Glasser would stay in charge of the renamed studio, and Bob and Harvey Weinstein will have no stake, we’re told.

Though the person close to these negotiations tells us there is a “sizable” insurance policy at TWC for victim restitution, Contreras-Sweet has vowed to beef that fund up even more.

The news of former Obama Administration cabinet member Contreras-Sweet’s negotiation exclusivity arrived on a day when TWC films were shut out of Oscar nominations for the first time since its founding in 2005.

In November, the group led by Contreras-Sweet emerged as one of the bidders for The Weinstein Company. Lionsgate was considered another top potential suitor.

The new owner — which sounds like the Contreras-Sweet group — will get the Weinstein assets, debts, its employees and projects. There are likely to be some layoffs, we’re told, as this is being planned out as an entirely different version of what still currently bears the “Weinstein” name.

The Weinstein Company found itself on the verge of bankruptcy when co-founder and Hollywood super-producer Harvey Weinstein was ousted after numerous accusations of the media mogul’s sexual misconduct became public. Harvey has since disappeared from the spotlight as his company attempted to save itself (thanks, Paddington!) for a buyout.

From 2014-2017, Contreras-Sweet was the 24th head of the Small Business Administration. Before that, she was executive chairwoman and founder of ProAmérica Bank, a commercial bank focusing on small to mid-sized businesses with a specialty in the Latino community.

Deadline first reported the news of the exclusive negotiations between TWC and Contreras-Sweet.