Disney Said to Discuss Miramax Sale to Tutor, Colony

Disney said to discuss sale of Miramax to Tutor
Harvey Weinstein who created Miramax with Bob Weinstein before selling it to Disney in 1993. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

Construction executive Ronald Tutor is in discussions to buy Walt Disney Co.’s Miramax film division, with backing from private equity firm Colony Capital, according to two people with knowledge of the talks.

Negotiations are continuing almost around the clock, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. If consummated, an agreement could be announced by next week, the person said.

Tutor approached Colony prior to the July 4 weekend seeking financing, said one person with knowledge of the arrangement. Los Angeles-based Colony, led by chairman and CEO Tom Barrack, has investments that include Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara.

Los Angeles investor Ron Burkle and Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who were working on a $625 million offer, are weighing whether to put in a competing bid, said two other people with knowledge of the situation. They had ended talks with Disney in May.

The Weinsteins sold Miramax to Disney in 1993. The two, who left in 2005, control rights to some films and are acquainted with both Tutor and Barrack, according to one of the people.

Disney is seeking $600 million to $700 million for Miramax, producer of “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love,” said one of the people.

Tutor, chairman and chief executive of Sylmar, California-based Tutor Perini Corp., didn’t return calls seeking comment. Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha declined to comment on the talks.

Lead Negotiators

Harvey Weinstein, in Sun Valley, Idaho, for media banker Allen & Co.’s annual conference, declined to discuss Miramax yesterday.

“I think it’s better for me to not say anything,” Weinstein said in an interview.

Leading negotiations for Colony is Richard Nanula, who was chief financial officer at Disney when it purchased Miramax, said the person. Nanula is negotiating with Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president for corporate strategy.

The talks were reported yesterday by the Web site Deadline.com/Hollywood and by Reuters.

Disney gained 20 cents to $33.34 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. It has advanced 3.4 percent this year.

(Corrects fourth paragraph to say Burkle and Weinsteins are considering a bid.)
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