Alec and Tom Gores join forces to weigh Miramax bid; Redskins owner Snyder may make a play too
After independently exploring a potential acquisition of Miramax Films, brothers Alec and Tom Gores are joining forces on a potential bid for the specialty movie label, people close to the matter said Friday. Also entering the field is Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, whose RedZone Capital investment firm owns Dick Clark Productions and the Johnny Rockets hamburger chain, informed people said.
Walt Disney Co. just extended its deadline for final bids on Miramax to March 31 as some prospective buyers, including Summit Entertainment, Lions Gate Entertainment and investment fund Qualia Capital have backed away after balking at the initial asking price of $700 million.
Although the Gores brothers are still in the process of due diligence, their offer is expected to exceed $500 million, a knowledgeable person said.
Meanwhile, football team owner Snyder is also exploring a bid, according to two people familiar with the situation. Snyder is also chairman of Six Flags, the amusement park company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last June. Through a spokesman, Snyder declined to comment on Miramax.
There's already a Miramax connection, of sorts, to Snyder. Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein sits on the board of Six Flags. He and brother Bob Weinstein, who have made a nonbinding offer for Miramax, are scrambling to put together financing to buy back the company that bears the name of their parents, Miriam and Max, and that they sold to Disney in 1993 for $80 million.
Because the Gores brothers have no studio infrastructure for producing and distributing films, they are contemplating bringing in a strategic partner already in that business.
The Gores are interested in more than just exploiting the hundreds of titles in Miramax's library -- including Oscar winners "Shakespeare in Love," "The English Patient" and "Chicago," the person said. They want to relaunch the studio that was recently shut down by Disney as an ongoing production operation.
Alec Gores, 57, and his younger sibling, Tom, run two separate investment firms. The Gores Group, run by the elder brother, owns Westwood One, which provides programming to radio and TV stations, Siemens Enterprise Communications and other companies.
In 2001, Alec acquired The Learning Co., a maker of educational software, unaware at the time that he was bidding against his own sibling, Tom. After turning around the company's fortunes, The Gores Group sold The Learning Co. in 2002.
Scott Honour, senior managing director of The Gores Group, declined to comment on any potential bid for Miramax. Mark Barnhill, a spokesman for Platinum Equity, Tom Gores' company, also declined comment.
Platinum Equity owns the San Diego Union-Tribune, among other assets. Tom Gores' interest in Miramax was reported last month. This wouldn't be his first entertainment venture. At one point he took a stake in Lions Gate Entertainment and executive produced a few films, including the 2007 thriller "I Know Who Killed Me" and the 2005 Andy Garcia drama "The Lost City."
The Gores brothers share another connection to Hollywood: Their brother Sam Gores runs talent agency Paradigm.
-- Claudia Eller and Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photos: Top: Alec Gores, chairman and founder of Gores Technology Group, based in Los Angeles. Credit: WernerPhoto.com. Bottom: Tom Gores, chief executive of Platinum Equity. Credit: Platinum Equity.