Billionaire Ron Burkle and potential partners the Weinstein brothers denied reports Friday that talks to buy the Walt Disney Co.'s Miramax Films division were on the rocks.

Discussions were being slowed, mainly because of problems securing the Weinstein brothers as the company's managers, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. The Los Angeles Times reported earlier the talks had fallen apart.

Disney had been negotiating exclusively since mid-April with Burkle, a 57-year-old supermarket mogul, to sell him the niche movie label for about $625 million. Hopes were high that a deal could be announced during the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France

Disney had earlier fielded bids from two other potential buyers. Brothers Tom and Alec Gores had made one bid for Miramax, as had a group of private equity investors that also included film producer David Bergstein. It was not clear Friday afternoon whether Disney would restart talks with either of those parties, or when it might do so.

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