The Walt Disney Co. has reached a tentative deal to sell Miramax Films to an investment group led by Ron Tutor (formerly referred to as an investment group led by David Bergstein), published reports said today (Friday). Tutor is a construction executive principally backed by Colony Capital. Today's Los Angeles Times said that the group had agreed to pay $650 million for the studio, putting up $300 in cash and the rest in debt. Although other reports put the debt component as somewhat less, the significant figure raised questions about whether lenders would be willing to shell out that amount of money in the current tight economy. However, the fact that former Disney CFO Richard Nanula, how a Colony principal, is expected to oversee the studio is expected to alleviate lenders' concerns. Reports also indicated that Bergstein, who initially spearheaded the negotiations with Disney but who has a controversial history in Hollywood, is now out of the deal. So, too, it appeared is actor Rob Lowe, according to today's Hollywood Reporter , which suggested he was never involved in it at all. Nevertheless, Daily Variety noted today that "there are obstacles for the Tutor group deal to wrap up" and that another offer from Bob and Harvey Weinstein, with backing by supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, can't be ruled out. The Weinsteins, the trade publication reported, "remain contenders."

09/07/2010