Disney Sells Miramax, at Last

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Disney has agreed to sell Miramax Films for $660 million. The buyer is an investment group headed by Ronald Tutor, a construction magnate. The Financial Times' Kenneth Li and Alan Rappeport report that the auction leading up to the agreement was "one of the most closely watched sagas in Hollywood." Why? Here's your guide to the sale of the company that brought you Shakespeare in Love and Pulp Fiction.

  • Long Process "The sale ends weeks of speculation," notes Dawn Kawamoto at Daily Finance, writing before the deal was formalized. The New York Times's Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply might call that an understatement: "The deal ends a laborious six-month bidding process."
  • Original Founders Shut Out-–Sort Of  Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein failed in their attempt to regain the company. That turned out "as expected," says Kawamoto. But Barnes and Cieply point out that the situation remains complicated: "As much as $150 million of the Miramax unit's value ... remains tied to film franchises ...  in which the Weinstein brothers have rights." That's a slightly awkward situation for the current buyers to handle, they note, "given the brothers' clear chagrin at not having prevailed in the bidding."
  • One Studio Up for Grabs Among Many  The deal, write the FT's Kenneth Li and Alan Rappeport, "comes at a time when the fate of other studios including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is uncertain."
  • Ugly, Ugly Business, comments Fortune's Stanley Bing over the Hollywood Reporter's interview a few weeks ago with buyer Ronald Tutor. Tutor's business partner David Bergstein was being excluded from this deal. "We become used to veiled utterances from our statesmen, business people, and politicians," writes Bing. "So it's rare and somewhat welcome to see a kingpin unleash a world of hurt on a former associate, and to study how it's done." He reviews one of the nastier comments:

"David, with whatever he did, wiped himself out. He has nothing remaining, and he's a young man with a wife and a couple of small kids who lost it all. It's very hard to be angry or vincictive to someone in that position. It's not a part of my makeup."

I very nearly spit out my corn flakes on that one. Hard to be angry or vindictive indeed.  By slagging the guy in the industry's morning bulletin?

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