Miramax Suitors Line Up as Sale Talks Move Forward

Laurie Sparham/Miramax/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock; Miramax/Photofest(2)
Miramax’s library includes (from left) Quentin Tarantino’s 'Pulp Fiction' and Oscar best picture winners 'Shakespeare in Love' and the Coen brothers’ 'No Country for Old Men.'

MGM, Lionsgate, Viacom and Sony have all kicked the tires in recent weeks for either an outright purchase or a significant stake, say sources.

Some or all of Miramax — the iconic independent studio founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein — could be sold "within the month," a source close to the company tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Suitors for Miramax, whose library boasts Oscar winners Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love and The Crying Game, include MGM, Lionsgate, Viacom and Sony, all of which have kicked the tires in recent weeks for either an outright purchase or a significant stake, say sources.

Controlled by Qatar's beIN Media Group since 2016 (the Weinsteins sold in 1993 to Disney, which offloaded it to the Filmyard Holdings investment group in 2010), its Doha-based owners are, as The Wall Street Journal first reported June 6, now looking to sell as much as 50 percent of the studio in a deal that would value it at $650 million (not far from the $663 million Filmyard paid Disney). Carlos Jimenez at investment bank Moelis is spearheading the potential deal.

BeIN, which dominates the soccer rights arena but has spoken of its major production aspirations, has remained tight-lipped on a deal, and Miramax declined to comment. The move to sell comes as traditional studios are seeking to bulk up with library product to compete in the streaming age.

A company like MGM or Lionsgate, for instance, could mine the 700-plus film library and such franchises as Halloween (which was rebooted successfully in 2018 with Blumhouse) and Scream, or use Miramax as a deep-pocketed film and TV pipeline, à la New Regency at Fox.

But there's been little else to connect the current incarnation of Miramax — now headed up by industry veteran Bill Block, who came aboard in 2017 — with its late-'80s/early-'90s heyday, and analysts question whether a major suitor would settle for owning merely part of the company.

Notes Ben Weiss of 8th and Jackson Capital Management: "More likely, any prospective public company partner would want control and full ownership."

This story first appears in the June 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.