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Disney sells Miramax to investor for $660 million
NEW YORK (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. said Friday that it agreed to sell its Miramax Films to an investor group for about $660 million, ending a 17-year association with the studio and a six-month bidding process.
Miramax’s Oscar-laden film library has more than 700 titles, including prestigious films such as “My Left Foot” (1989), “Pulp Fiction” (1994) and “Good Will Hunting” (1997).
“Although we are very proud of Miramax’s many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands,” said Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger said in a statement. “We are delighted that we have found a home for the Miramax brand and Miramax’s very highly regarded motion picture library.”
But the duo left in 2005 to found The Weinstein Co. after years of troubled relations with Disney and a public spat over Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which Disney refused to distribute.
The Weinsteins’ recent bid to buy Miramax with the financial backing of supermarket magnate Ron Burkle was halted after Mr. Burkle cut the offered price to about $565 million from $625 million.
The entertainment company signed an agreement late Thursday with Filmyard Holding, an investor group led by construction magnate and Hollywood outsider Ronald Tutor. Other investors include Colony Capital LLC, a real estate investment group, and its CEO Tom Barrack.
Despite its past success with prize-winning films, Miramax also faces challenges.
Earlier this year, Disney stopped investing in its new projects, laying off all but a handful of staff beginning in January in a major round of cost-cutting and reorganization under its new studios chairman, Rich Ross. It was one of many niche labels shuttered or downsized in Hollywood recently, plagued by high costs and few commercial hits despite their occasional critical success.
Disney shares fell 2 cents to $33.69 in midday trading Friday.
AP Business Writer Ashley Heher in Chicago contributed to this report.
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