Harvey Weinstein

The Weinstein Company, dragged down by sex misconduct scandal, to file for bankruptcy

Now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein co-founded the company in 2005

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 10:13pm

Weinstein Co., the New York studio co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, will file for bankruptcy protection after last-ditch talks to sell its assets to an investor group collapsed.

The firm had been seeking a deal to spare it from bankruptcy after more than 70 women accused film producer Weinstein, its ex-chairman and once one of Hollywood’s most influential men, of sexual misconduct including rape. Weinstein denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.

“The Weinstein Company has been engaged in an active sale process in the hopes of preserving assets and jobs,” its board of directors said in a statement reported by newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and The Los Angeles Times.

“Today, those discussions concluded without a signed agreement.”

The board had “no choice but to pursue its only viable option to maximise the Company’s remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process.”

The firm had been close to inking a deal to sell itself for more than US$500 million to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former official in Barack Obama’s presidential administration.

But negotiations were thrown into doubt two weeks ago when New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the company and Weinstein over his alleged sexual harassment and misconduct.

Schneiderman wanted any deal to provide adequate compensation to Weinstein’s alleged victims, protect employees and not reward executives who the suit alleges knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it.

In a letter to Contreras-Sweet published by entertainment news website deadline.com, the Board wrote that it lost faith in the deal, which “we must conclude … would only leave the Company hobbling toward its demise.”

No representatives of The Weinstein Company or Contreras-Sweet were immediately available for comment.

The company, which has debts of roughly US$375 million, was launched in October 2005 and has produced and distributed films including The King’s Speech and Silver Linings Playbook.

Additional reporting by Tribune News Service