Ron Burkle Denies That He's Made an Offer to Buy Weinstein Co.
The billionaire's interest in TWC would be a curious twist, given that Colony Capital is said to be in negotiations to buy part or all of the studio.
Despite a report that Harvey Weinstein has told The Weinstein Co. board that Ron Burkle and Len Blavatnik are interested in buying the studio in free fall, Burkle's rep says, "We have not made any overtures." Blavatnik declined comment.
The news of the billionaires' interest in TWC would be a curious twist, given that Colony Capital is said to be in negotiations to buy part or all of the studio in which the disgraced film mogul Weinstein owns a 20-plus percent stake (his brother Bob owns a similar-sized stake).
Both Burkle and Blavatnik have been in business with TWC in the past. And in 2015, Burkle considered making a play for the then-financially challenged studio and merge it with Independent Talent Group, a U.K. agency in which he has a significant interest. At the time, Burkle's reps neither confirmed nor denied his interest to The Hollywood Reporter, saying only that "Ron thinks very highly of Harvey."
For his part, Blavatnik once announced that he was investing in a three-year film fund set up by TWC, but it never came to fruition. (In 2011, Blavatnik launched AI Films, which put money into such TWC films as The Butler.)
The news of Burkle and Blavatnik's current interest was reported by the Financial Times and comes exactly two weeks after a New York Times exposé that claimed Weinstein settled at least eight sexual harassment claims. Since then, dozens more women have come forward with stories of sexual harassment and rape and sent TWC into a tailspin.
The rep for Burkle adds: "We have several projects in The Weinstein Co. film library, and we are following the situation closely."
At least one other company has expressed interest in buying TWC. The CEO of the company that declined to be named says it made a nine-figure offer for TWC in its entirety. The company's overtures were ignored, says the exec: "We were very frustrated."