Miramax offers due Friday

More than a dozen expected for Disney's shuttered division

More than a dozen nonbinding offers are expected Friday in an informal auction Disney is conducting for its recently shuttered Miramax.

Contrary to some reports, Disney's $700 million price tag on Miramax, which comes with a 700-film library, might not prove a problem. But that will take a while to sort out, as first-round bidding is nonbinding and Disney has facilitated almost no due diligence by Miramax suitors.

One estimate put annual cash flow from the Miramax library at $150 million, meaning Disney would need to find a buyer willing to pay a multiple of four to five times cash flow. That's considered doable, though everything depends on bidders confirming the studio's cash flow claims when due diligence finally is allowed.

Disney is running the Miramax auction internally, with its finance execs fielding phone calls and holding occasional meetings with prospective suitors.

Minimajor Lionsgate is among those kicking tires on Miramax, and several majors also are expected to make expressions of interest. Summit Entertainment had been in the mix of suitors but pulled out at the eleventh hour prior to the bidding deadline.

Former Miramax co-toppers Harvey and Bob Weinstein also are interested in reclaiming rights to their once-mighty indie, which they founded in 1979 and named for their parents Miriam and Max Weinstein. But it's not clear how the recently cash-strapped brothers would fund a Miramax purchase.
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