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Miramax Co-Owner Ron Tutor Says He's Selling 'Movie Interests'

Ron Tutor Portrait - P 2012
Ryan Schude
Ron Tutor

UPDATED: In a conference call with analysts who cover his Tutor Perini Corp. construction firm, the businessman said he expected the deal to close within the next 10 days.

Miramax co-owner Ron Tutor said on a Friday conference call with analysts that he is selling his "movie interests" in the next week to 10 days.

It is not clear if the comment was in reference to his stake in Miramax, other ventures or all of his interests in the film business. 

Tutor, chairman and CEO of Sylmar-based construction company Tutor Perini Corp., was asked by an analyst during the company's first-quarter earnings call about his continued sale of stock in the firm (Tutor has sold at least $183 million of Tutor Perini stock since August 2010). In response, Tutor said: "God willing ... I am probably a week to 10 days away from executing and selling my movie interests. If for any reason that -- awful as it might sound -- doesn't go through, I probably have another stock sale in June or July."

Tutor has several movie business concerns. In addition to being a co-owner of Miramax, his ventures include a handful of bankrupt companies he started with film financier David Bergstein. The pair's most valuable asset is likely the Intermedia film library, which includes such titles as Timecop, The Wedding Planner and Basic Instinct 2.

Tutor declined to comment. However, a source with knowledge of the matter told The Hollywood Reporter that the film interests Tutor is selling are unrelated to his Miramax investment.

Tutor, private-equity firm Colony Capital, Qatar Holding and actor Rob Lowe purchased Miramax from Disney for $663 million in December 2010. Since then, the company has focused on inking digital distribution deals; Miramax has not produced or developed any films under the new ownership group. Colony and Miramax declined comment.

Tutor has sold stock in Tutor Perini since August 2010 at increasingly lower prices. The liquidation has at least partly funded Tutor’s film ventures, he said in a March conference call with analysts, and has considerably reduced his stake in the company. In 2008, he owned about 43 percent of Tutor Perini's shares; he was down to about 23 percent by the end of 2011. And in a September federal filing, Tutor Perini’s board allowed Tutor to sell 100 percent of his stock if he chooses. “I hated every sale of stock I’ve made since the first one,” Tutor said in a conference call last year.

It is not clear why Tutor, whose net worth was pegged at $790 million by the Los Angeles Business Journal last year, has needed to sell so much stock. But in addition to buying his stake in Miramax, Tutor has settled high-profile lawsuits in recent years, including at least a few that stem from his business dealings with Bergstein. In May 2011, for example, Tutor and Bergstein settled a $108 million lawsuit filed on behalf of the now-defunct New York hedge fund D.B. Zwirn, which had been a primary backer of the partners’ film ventures. The settlement was worth $75 million, according to court filings. 

The Intermedia film library could be attractive to investors. It includes titles from the former Franchise Films production company; other titles in the library include Hurricane, K-PAX, Unlawful Entry, Alexander and Malcolm X. The library was at one time part of R2D2, a company owned from 2002 until 2009 by Tutor and Bergstein. That company is now involved in an involuntary bankruptcy action. The Intermedia movies were separated from R2D2 but still could be subject to legal claims by creditors in the bankruptcy.

Alex Ben Block contributed to this report.

Email: Daniel.Miller@THR.com

Twitter: @DanielNMiller