Days after Maria Contreras-Sweet and her fellow investors announced plans to acquire The Weinstein Company’s assets — capping weeks of turbulent negotiations — she now says she will not go forward with the purchase. Read Contreras-Sweet’s full statement below.
All of us have worked in earnest on the transaction to purchase the assets of The Weinstein Company. However, after signing and entering into the confirmatory diligence phase, we have received disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction.
As a result, we have decided to terminate this transaction.
I would like to thank the employees and the board of The Weinstein Company for pursuing this opportunity with us and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for playing a crucial role at a critical time. I especially want to thank Ron Burkle and The Yucaipa Companies for their advice, showing faith in this deal, and taking an unusual step of subordinating many typical investor board rights to the women who would have led this company. I would like to thank Lantern Asset Management for their early capital commitment and Len Blavatnik for his willingness to look at creative options on the debt side. Lastly, I would like to thank Tarak Ben Ammar.
I believe that our vision to create a women-led film studio is still the correct course of action. 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.
I remain committed to working to advance women’s business ownership in all sectors and to inspire girls to envision their futures as leaders of important companies.
A source familiar with the deal told IndieWire that Contreras-Sweet had agreed to a 40-day closing process, giving the buyers the chance to scrutinize TWC’s finances. On Thursday, March 1, the investors learned that TWC was actually $280 million in debt, not $225 million, as they had previously been told.
The source believes that the deal will not be salvaged. Yet this group of investors has raised considerable capital towards their goal of creating a female-led studio, and strong interest remains in buying certain TWC assets during its bankruptcy proceedings. Those assets could theoretically be combined with additional entertainment industry assets to make a new distributor.
Last time talks were shelved was on February 25, at the behest of TWC, when the board vowed the the company would instead file for bankruptcy. Contreras-Sweet said that news “surprised” her, since she was under the impression that she was “a couple of days” from signing transaction paperwork.