Ron Tutor and David Bergstein keep negotiating for Miramax
The exclusive 10-day negotiating window between Disney and construction magnate Ron Tutor and his movie-business partner David Bergsten for the acquisition of Miramax Films expires tonight, and the parties continue to talk.
There's no word yet as to whether Disney will extend the exclusivity period. But people close to the situation say the talks are progressing. One person said the Tutor-backed group is waiting for Disney to provide more financial information that the investors need to secure financing.
Disney has been in talks with Tutor and Bergstein since June 7, after negotiations collapsed between the Burbank studio and Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein and their financial backer Ron Burkle.
The Weinsteins are waiting in the wings, ready to jump back in if the talks with Tutor and Bergstein derail. The Burkle-Weinstein negotiations went off track when the bidders tried to lower the price to $565 million from $625 million, over concerns about the value of the film library, and Disney balked.
The Weinsteins and some in Hollywood are unhappy that Miramax could become associated with Bergstein, who has had a troubled financial history. Several companies he controls are embroiled in bankruptcy preceedings after a group of creditors dragged him into court this year.
Hollywood's talent guilds, which are among the creditors, have conveyed concerns to Disney about potentially selling Miramax to any company affiliated with Bergstein. Bergstein, who is serving as an advisor to Tutor, would not be an investor in the deal.
A Disney spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.
-- Claudia Eller and Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photos: Ron Tutor (left) and David Bergstein (right). Credits: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times