The agreed-upon demise of Harvey Weinstein’s company creates a new Hollywood player by way of Texas – and reduces money available for litigants in civil lawsuits against the one-time Hollywood mogul.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath approved July 11 Dallas-based private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners’ $289 million purchase of the Weinstein Co. Inc., freeing the bankruptcy proceeding to close.
The deal came after Lantern backed away from an original $310 million price, and unsecured creditors balked at a $287 million amended agreement. The unsecured creditors signed off on the slightly higher price of $289 million price, partly because it cut by $1 million fees paid to Weinstein Co. financial advisers.
A significant number of unsecured creditors are former company employees, such as Louisette Geiss and Sandeep Rehal, who sued Weinstein for sexual misconduct, and allege that Weinstein’s company encouraged or covered up instances of assault and harassment.
“The purchase price agreement does not resolve disputed claims of individual creditors, including the lawsuits,” said bankruptcy lawyer Zev Shechtman of the law firm Danning, Gill, Diamond & Kollitz, who is not involved in the case.
Shectman said litigants can still go after Weinstein’s personal assets, but “Lantern will be purchasing assets of the Weinstein Co. free and clear of the litigation claims against the Weinstein Co.”
That means the $289 million agreement might have been the best of limited options for the unsecured creditors, who watched from the sidelines as a weeks-long dispute played out between Lantern and the Weinstein Co. over payments owed to actors and directors.
The heated bankruptcy proceeding led Lantern to announce how it plans to manage some of their new intellectual property, such as the reality television series “Project Runway.” Lantern has not specified where it will set up shop in Los Angeles. It has not disclosed the permanent leaders of its entertainment team, but last week it named some Hollywood industry veterans as strategic advisors.
Lantern met with Weinstein Co. employees at Weinstein Co.’s Beverly Hills office earlier this month, but it has not said how many workers will be retained from the dissolved company.
The bankruptcy does not affect criminal charges against Weinstein.
Times’ Move Upsets Union
New Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong has touted potential changes to the publication, including more video content and podcasts, and possible corporate partnerships with AT&T Inc., the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Lakers, of which Soon-Shiong is a minority owner.
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