Racing to sell itself before it runs out of cash, The Weinstein Co. has entered into exclusive negotiations with a group headed by Maria Contreras-Sweet, according to reports.
Contreras-Sweet, who headed the Small Business Administration during the Obama administration, is said to have commitments of $500 million to buy the tainted film and TV studio for $275 million, infuse it with fresh capital and continue to meet its 160-person payroll.
Contreras-Sweet’s preemptive proposal should produce a done deal “within seven to 10 days,” according to Deadline, which on Tuesday first reported on the exclusive talks.
Some media insiders weren’t confident a deal will get done — pointing to the more than 80 women who have accused studio co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
The Contreras-Sweet proposal seeks to cover Harvey-related liabilities through contingency funding — but it doesn’t, and can’t, put a cap on those expected payouts until the last one is adjudicated.
Weinstein, who was fired from TWC in October, has consistently denied the allegations.
“What if the awards are in excess of the litigation trust?” asked a source. “Who pays for it then?”
Many in the media world expect TWC to seek bankruptcy court protection. The court could then approve a litigation fund that would limit the total amount of recovery to victims.
Moelis & Co., which is managing the auction of the studio behind “The Artist” and “The King’s Speech,” declined comment.
To keep itself afloat, TWC sold its distribution rights to “Paddington 2,” reaping $28 million from the deal it cut with Warner Bros. in November.