Business deals

Investor group pulls out of deal to buy Weinstein Company

The team, led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, reportedly found out that the struggling studio’s debt was more than what was previously disclosed.

A deal to save the Weinstein Company, founded by disgraced Hollywood studio executive Harvey Weinstein, from bankruptcy collapsed at the last minute on Tuesday, BBC reported.

A team of investors, led by businessperson Maria Contreras-Sweet who was set to buy the film production and distribution company, pulled out after they found that the firm’s debt was $280 million (Rs 1,819 crore) rather than the $225 million (Rs 1,461 crore) as previously disclosed.

The Weinstein Company’s board said it was disappointed with the investors’ decision, The New York Times reported. “The investors’ excuse that they learned new information about the company’s financial condition is just that – an excuse,” the board said. “The company has been transparent about its dire financial condition.”

The investor group’s idea to buy the struggling company and turn it into a women-led film studio is still the correct one, Contreras-Sweet said. “To that end, we will consider acquiring assets that may become available in the event of bankruptcy proceedings, as well as other opportunities that may become available in the entertainment industry.”

The deal between the firm and investors had almost been finalised in February when the state of New York sued the company. Attorney General Eric T Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the company and the Weinstein brothers – Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob, who is a co-owner of the company – for allegedly violating state and city laws on gender discrimination, sexual harassment and coercion.

Schneiderman had said that the deal being discussed between Contreras-Sweet and the Weinstein Company was unacceptable as it did not provide compensation to victims, protect employees, and ensure that those who enabled Harvey Weinstein’s conduct would not be rewarded.

Weinstein is facing a horde of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct with employees, and well as threats to kill some of them.

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