January 16, 2018 / 3:33 AM / 4 months ago

Bidder for the Weinstein Company says bankruptcy may be best option

(Reuters) - Killer Content Inc, the movie producer that has partnered with philanthropist Abigail Disney in a consortium vying to acquire the Weinstein Company, said on Monday that a bankruptcy may be the best way forward for the U.S. film and TV studio.

Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of the Weinstein Company, kicks off the Film Finance Circle conference with an informal discussion at the inaugural Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, October 15, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Crisp/Files

Killer Content’s comments come as the studio continues to grapple with the fallout of sexual harassment allegations against its former co-chairman, Harvey Weinstein, who left the company three months ago.

More than 70 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. He has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.

The Weinstein Company has been looking for a buyer or rescue financing since last fall. The company’s investment bankers at Moelis & Co have been focused on an outright sale, rather than a debt restructuring or bankruptcy.

Killer Content said in a statement that it remained interested in acquiring the assets of the Weinstein Company, but that a sale process may not be the best way for the company to address its liabilities.

“We can only participate... if the process is transparent, affords due process, and is 100 percent aligned with the interests of survivors – all most likely to happen in bankruptcy,” Killer Content said in the statement.

Killer Content, entertainment company Lions Gate Entertainment Corp and Maria Contreras-Sweet, the former head of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama, have made proposals for the company or some of its assets, people familiar with the matter have said.

The Weinstein Company and Moelis declined to comment. Lions Gate and Contreras-Sweet representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Harvey Weinstein’s brother and company co-founder Robert Weinstein, and David Glasser, the film studio’s president, remain at the Weinstein Company, which has produced and distributed movies including “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Killer Content, which has produced more than 60 films including “Boys Don’t Cry,” is arguing that a sale of the Weinstein Company outside bankruptcy could benefit some of the executives who allowed Harvey Weinstein’s abuse to continue for years.

“We want to do our part to ensure that no matter the outcome, the blood money generated from the systemic protection of alleged rape, abuse and a culture of violence against women will soon be allocated to the prevention, the support and advocacy efforts of anti-discrimination and survivor support organizations,” Killer Content said.

The Weinstein Company last year sold its rights to family movie “Paddington 2,” bringing in a cash infusion that would help the studio continue to operate until January, Reuters has reported. The company has $375 million in debt.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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