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Disney Agrees to Sell Miramax to Tutor, Colony & Co. for $660M

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Jul 30, 2010 | 4:24am EDT

  Disney Agrees to Sell Miramax to Tutor, Colony & Co. for $660M 

Robert IgerAfter a six-month bidding process, Disney has agreed to sell Miramax to a group that includes Ronald Tutor and Colony Capital for $660 million.

The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and is expected to close sometime before the end of the year. In a statement, Disney chief Robert Iger said, “Although we are very proud of Miramax’s many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands.”

Tutor, the chief executive of the Tutor Perini Corporation, and Tom Barrack, the chief executive of Colony Capital, and other individuals bought Miramax through Filmyard Holdings. The press release did not mention any other minority investors, such as James Robinson of Morgan Creek, Gulf Capital of Dubai and actor Rob Lowe, who said last week that he was part of the group, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Nor was there any mention of Pangea Media Group CEO David Bergstein, who first brought the deal to Tutor and has been acting as a consultant on the sale.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Jerome Swartz, who co-founded mobile technology company Symbol Technologies, was expected to invest between $25 million and $50 million in the new venture.

The purchase includes the rights to 700 library titles, plus the Miramax name, books, development projects and other assets.

Disney will handle distribution of a handful of completed Miramax films that have yet to be released, an arrangement that may be in place for up to a year after the transaction is completed, Variety notes.

The ultimate price for the indie label was higher than what others, including Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein backed by Ron Burkle, were prepared to offer.

As much as $150 million of the Miramax unit’s value remains tied to film franchises like the Spy Kids and Scary Movie series in which the Weinsteins have rights, a source told The New York Times.

Unclear is how Tutor’s group will deal with the Weinstein presence, given the brothers’ chagrin in recent weeks at not having prevailed in the bidding, says the NYT.

Deadline notes that Colony Capital's Richard Nanula will be the key person picking a CEO and CFO from the usual roster of experienced movie executives. An insider told Deadline, "He'll make sure Miramax doesn't end up hiring someone who'll use distribution as an excuse to go into production. Because that would be disastrous."

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