Weinstein Co. selling controlling stake in exclusive social networking site
Looks like it's not a small world after all for the Weinstein Co.
The film and entertainment company, which has been shedding staff in the wake of restructuring its operations, is selling its majority stake in aSmallWorld.net -- a social networking site for rich people -- to Swiss mogul Patrick Liotard-Vogt, people familiar with the situation say. The Weinstein Co., which bought into the site three years ago, will retain a small piece of the company. Liotard-Vogt is a scion of the family that founded Nestle Corp. The exclusive site, founded by Erik Wachtmeister, is an invitation-only social network. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The move is part of the Weinstein Co.'s push to get back to basics. Earlier this summer, the company hired financial consulting Miller Buckfire to advise it as it dealt with a heavy debt load.The word from the firm was to lose the diversions and noncore businesses and stick to making a handful of movies.
There have also been lots of cutbacks at the company. Last week, chief operating officer Lee Solomon left, and before that U.S. distribution chief Tom Ortenberg also left for personal reasons. There are no plans to replace either of them. The company's goal is to pare the staff to fewer than 100 people. After founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the top executive is David Glasser, president of international distribution.
The company has had some recent success with "Inglourious Basterds" and has two highly anticipated releases in "The Road" and "Nine," the latter of which just had its release date moved from late November to late December.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Harvey Weinstein. Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images