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Weinstein Co. in sale talks with private equity firm

By Thomas Heath,

The Weinstein Co. is in talks with Capital about selling all or a big chunk of the besieged studio to the private equity firm after the movie company has seen its brand blotted by recent accusations that its former co-chairman Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed women over decades.

“We are pleased to invest in The Weinstein Company and to help it move forward,” said Colony founder and executive chairman Thomas J. Barrack Jr.

Weinstein founded his eponymous film company with his brother Bob in 2005. Before that the Weinsteins founded Miramax, one of the premier independent film studios.

Founded in 1991, Colony Capital is the private equity arm of Colony NorthStar and has extensive experience in the television and film industry from its acquisition of Miramax from the Walt Disney Co. in 2010.

“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,” Barrack said in a statement.

Weinstein, who has been one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood for decades, was fired by his former company last week as reports of allegations of sexual harassment proliferated. Several film stars, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, accused Weinstein of sexually harassing them.

Weinstein’s troubles have continued to mount, including accusations that he raped women. In a statement, Weinstein said any sex he has had with women was consensual.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at an emergency session over the weekend voted to expel Weinstein from its organization over the sexual harassment and rape accusations.

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

Weinstein Co. board member Tarak Ben Ammar said in the joint statement: “We are pleased to announce this agreement and potential strategic partnership with Colony Capital. We believe that Colony’s investment and sponsorship will help stabilize the company’s current operations, as well as provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world. Colony’s successful experience and track record in media and entertainment will be invaluable to the company as we move forward.”

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