The roller coaster ride that has become the fate of Harvey Weinstein’s former company has hit a new turn.
Ron Burkle, part of a $500 million bid to buy the embattled Weinstein Co., is attempting to enlist the support of fashion designer Georgina Chapman, who is in the process of divorcing Weinstein, in order to make the deal happen, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Although Weinstein was fired from the company in October and resigned from the board, he may have the right to vote on any sale since he remains a shareholder. Chapman, who reportedly reached a divorce settlement with Weinstein in January, apparently now controls that vote, insiders say. It isn’t clear whether Burkle, a longtime professional and personal associate of Weinstein’s, has yet met with Chapman.
Chapman is co-founder of the Marchesa label and currently is one of the judges on Project Runway All Stars, co-produced by TWC.
Burkle and former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet are leading a group of investors who are proposing to take a 51 percent stake in TWC and install a female-majority board (Contreras-Sweet has said her involvement was inspired by the #MeToo movement). Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies would be a minority stakeholder in the venture.
Earlier this week, Burkle traveled to New York City in hopes of rescuing the sale after the TWC board said Sunday night it was terminating talks and preparing for bankruptcy, claiming Burkle and Contreras-Sweet failed to live up to certain agreements. A chief point of contention is interim funding needed to keep the company afloat.
One of Burkle’s meetings on Tuesday was with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s team. The AG’s office is disappointed that talks broke down and continues to stay in touch with both sides to see if it’s still possible to salvage a deal.
In response to the board’s declaration that the deal is off, the AG’s office on Monday said: “Over the past two weeks, we had very productive discussions with both parties about accomplishing the Attorney General’s goals of compensating victims, protecting employees and rooting out those who enabled years of sexual abuse at The Weinstein Company. We are disappointed that despite a clear path forward on those issue — including the buyer’s commitment to dedicate up to $90 million to victim compensation and implement gold-plated HR policies — the parties were unable to resolve their financial differences.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, sources say the situation remains fluid in terms of whether the Contreras-Sweet and Burkle-led bid can be consummated and bankruptcy averted.
Neither Chapman nor Burkle immediately responded to requests for comment.