Weinstein Co. closes new financing deal
Weinstein Co. has closed a deal for a new $150-million film financing facility with Union Bank of California, seeking to put itself on firmer financial footing as it continues a comeback from the brink of shutting just two years ago.
The new deal allows the New York studio behind "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" to pay off loans from Goldman Sachs and Ziff Brothers Investments that it took out in 2009 and 2010 when it was struggling to stay afloat, according to a person familiar with the arrangement but not authorized to speak publicly.
Thanks in large part to cash generated by "The King's Speech," which grossed $139 million in the U.S. and Canada, brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein's company is in a much less precarious financial position and was able to secure its new financing on better terms than in the past, the person said.
The company had taken out a $75-million bridge loan from Ziff Brothers in 2009 and a $50-million loan from Goldman in 2010.
As part of the latter deal, Weinstein Co. turned over the rights to about 200 titles from its library to Goldman in order to pay off $400-million in debt. Goldman still controls those pictures, which include "Halloween" and "Vicky Christina Barcelona."
Weinstein has paid Goldman some of the money required to take back those pictures but has more payments to make.
The news comes as expectations are high for Weinstein Co. to take home multiple trophies at Sunday's Academy Awards for "The Artist," which has been a far more modest box office success than "The King's Speech." "The Artist" has made $29 million in domestic receipts so far.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Berenice Bejo and George Valentin in "The Artist." Credit: Peter Iovino / Weinstein Co.