Are the Weinstein brothers being outflanked in their bid for Miramax?
Disney has to be feeling a lot more comfortable right now knowing that if it wants to unload its now-shuttered Miramax film label that at least it has a host of feisty bidders ready to pony up some serious money for the once-fabled specialty division. But according to a well-sourced new post from the Vulture's Claude Brodesser-Akner, while the Weinstein brothers, Miramax's former owners, have made the higher bid, it looks like another band of brothers -- the Gores brothers -- have the inside track on the company.
For one thing, the Gores brothers have much deeper pockets than the financially strapped Weinsteins, who are relying on a collection of outside partners, led by supermarket magnate (and Friend of Bill Clinton) Ron Burkle, for their $600-million bid. The Gores Bros. don't need any outside aid, since Alec (who owns the sprawling Westwood One radio network), Tom (who flips distressed companies) and Sam (who owns the Paradigm talent agency) have a combined net worth of nearly $4 billion. So even though they aren't necessarily offering Disney top dollar, they are prepared to make a bid all in cash, which must be a mighty tempting proposition for Disney.
In fact, the Goreses are so loaded with dough that they don't just have their sights set on Miramax. They are also bidding on indie distributor Overture Films as well as home entertainment distributor Anchor Bay Entertainment (both owned by John Malone's Liberty Starz Media). If the Goreses landed all three properties, they could launch a nicely vertically integrated entertainment empire, especially since, to hear Brodesser-Akner tell it, the brothers are going after a number of other film libraries in the hopes of creating a Miramax cable TV movie channel.
If that were to happen, it would be a cruel twist of fate for Harvey and Bob Weinstein, since they would not only lose out on their former company -- named after their parents -- but they would see a rival set of brothers assembling exactly the sort of showbiz kingdom they once hoped to establish themselves back in the glory days when the Weinsteins were empire builders, not relying on movies like "Piranha 3-D" to keep the lights on.
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Photo of Harvey (left) and Bob Weinstein by Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times