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Weinstein Co takes on funds, eyes sale

The Weinstein Company (TWC) has taken on private equity investment from Colony Capital and is in talks regarding a sale of its assets to the firm in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.

Harvey Weinstein

TWC said it had entered into a preliminary agreement with Colony Capital over the sale of “all or a significant portion of its assets.”

Colony has also already made an “immediate capital infusion” into TWC as it threatens to be engulfed by the crisis brought on by its co-founder’s misconduct.

The US film producer behind Pulp Fiction and Gangs of New York is currently in production on numerous big-budget TV projects, including an adaptation of Les Misérables with the BBC.

Harvey Weinstein was an executive producer on that, and many other of the company’s TV projects, but was fired by his own company last week after a string of lurid sexual assault allegations dating back years were made by actresses and executives in a New York Times expose.

Robert Weinstein, Harvey’s younger brother and co-chairman, has stepped in with chief operating officer David Glasser to run TWC and a possible change of name for the company had been mooted in the US press.

However, with more allegations emerging by the day, a number of broadcasters have started distancing themselves from projects the company is involved in.

Amazon has moved swiftly to take over production of Matt Weiner’s The Romanoffs and to kill off David O’Russell’s planned US$160m drama project entirely – both were being produced by TWC.

On Friday, Amazon Studios head Roy Price was suspended after Isa Dick Hackett, the daughter of late science fiction writer Philip K Dick, made allegations against him in The Hollywood Reporter. She said she had been inspired by Weinstein’s victims to speak out.

Price himself has since become embroiled in the Weinstein scandal after actor Rose McGowan (Charmed), one of Weinstein’s most prominent accusers since the allegations against him arose, claimed on Twitter that Price had ignored her complaints “over and over” that she had been raped by the disgraced Hollywood producer.

Premium cablenet Showtime has said it will not proceed with Oliver Stone-directed drama series Guantanamo if TWC remains attached to it, according to reports in the US.

Tarak Ben Ammar, a board member of the Weinstein Company, said: “We believe that Colony’s investment and sponsorship will help stabilise the company’s current operations, as well as provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world.”

Colony Capital founder and executive chairman Thomas J Barrack Jnr added: “We believe the company has substantial value and growth potential and we look forward to working with the company’s critical strategic distribution and production partners to help preserve and create value for all stakeholders, including its employees.

“We will help return the company to its rightful iconic position in the independent film and television industry.”

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