The majority of the The Weinstein Company’s bankrupt assets will go to it’s original bidder, the Dallas-based Lantern Capital Partners, TheWrap has learned.
Lantern emerged as the first and only stalking horse bidder for virtually all of the company’s assets in March. The Dallas-based private equity firm agreed to keep the studio’s employees on as a “going concern,” should the bankruptcy court approve the sale — valued at $310 million — court filings said.
Read TWC’s statement on the sale:
The Weinstein Company is pleased to announce that Lantern Capital is the winning bidder in the sale for substantially all of the assets of the Company. No other bid offered as much value to the estate as the Lantern bid, which was also the Debtors’ stalking horse bid and was negotiated with input from the Office of the New York Attorney General. “Lantern’s bid clearly achieves the highest and best value for the estate and its creditors,” said Ms. Ivona Smith, a member of The Weinstein Company Board of Representatives. “We look forward to working with Lantern to close the transaction and consummate the going concern sale.”
Earlier today, news outlets reported that the Company received a letter of interest from Inclusion Media, a potential bidder backed by Howard Kagan. That letter, submitted after the bid deadline, was a conditional indication of interest that contemplated substantially less value to the estate, and did not include a purchase agreement, a financing commitment, a deposit, or a number of other requirements for a qualified bid. While the Inclusion letter did claim to offer certain attractive aspects for victims, the Debtors concluded after discussions with Mr. Kagan that the Inclusion letter was not a bona fide offer. Thus, in furtherance of its fiduciary duty, the Board selected the bid that offered, with certainty, the most overall value to the estate.
TWC listed both assets and liabilities of between $500 million and $1 billion. Top creditors include Union Bank and Bank of America who are owed a combined $156 million.
Unsecured creditors include China’s Wanda Pictures ($14.4 million), marketing company Palisades Media ($13.7 million) and David Boies’ law firm Boies, Schiller and Flexner ($5.7 million).
Robert del Genioof of FTI Consulting has served as chief restructuring officer, overseeing the company’s finances and operations during the bankruptcy process. The board also retained Moelis as its banker and two law firms in Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Richards, Layton & Finger.
The New York-based company, founded in 2005 by, has cut an outsize swath in the indie film world, producing back-to-back Oscar Best Picture winners (2010’s “The King’s Speech” and 2011’s “The Artist”) as well as mainstream hits like Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” “Scary Movie 4” and the family film “Paddington.”
TWC’s profitable TV division boasts one megahit franchise: Lifetime’s long-running fashion reality series “Project Runway” and its many spinoffs. It has also produced episodic series such as MTV’s “Scream” and Netflix’s “Marco Polo,” which were both canceled after two seasons.
In conclusion, the TWC board said it “regrets that it cannot undo the damage Harvey Weinstein caused, but hopes that today’s events will mark a new beginning. Even as the Company heads into bankruptcy, the Company remains committed to doing whatever it can to maximize value for its creditors and, in cooperation with Attorney General, continue its pursuit of justice for any victims.”