Mnuchin Says He Divested Hollywood Financing Company Stake

Updated on
  • Treasury secretary hasn’t disclosed buyer for RatPac-Dune
  • Former Goldman Sachs executive backed ‘Wonder Woman’

Steven Mnuchin

Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

Steven Mnuchin has officially declared he’s out of the motion-picture business.

The Treasury secretary, who had promised to sell his stake in a Hollywood financing company known as RatPac-Dune by last week, said in a filing released Tuesday that he has completed all divestitures under his ethics agreement. He didn’t name a buyer or disclose a sale price.

That would mean the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive and one-time hedge fund manager will no longer back major motion pictures such as “Wonder Woman” while helping run the economy for President Donald Trump.

Mnuchin told the Office of Government Ethics in January that he would divest dozens of assets, including his stake in RatPac-Dune, which he co-owned with filmmaker Brett Ratner and Ukraine-born billionaire Len Blavatnik. He committed to completing the sale within 120 days of his confirmation, which was on Feb. 13, and agreed not to make any decisions as Treasury secretary that would affect the value of his holdings during that time.

One potential acquirer can be ruled out: Mnuchin didn’t sell his stake to Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment, a person familiar with the matter said this week.

‘Wonder Woman’

The divestiture would resolve a potential conflict of interest for the Trump administration. The president’s own business dealings have drawn lawsuits for alleged violations of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Mnuchin has co-financed blockbusters including “Avatar,” one of the biggest box-office successes ever, and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” RatPac-Dune struck a deal with Warner Bros. in 2013 to provide $450 million in funding for as many as 75 movies.

“Wonder Woman” has already taken in more than $570 million, according to Box Office Mojo, after scoring the largest opening for a film directed by a woman. The Guardian called the superhero picture “a masterpiece of subversive feminism.”

With his business suits and thick black glasses, Mnuchin doesn’t come across as a Hollywood type, though he drove a Porsche as a student at Yale University, two friends told Bloomberg News for a profile last year. Ratner said in an interview that he met his partner years ago through billionaire Eddie Lampert, Mnuchin’s college roommate.

‘Lego Batman’

In a March interview hosted by Axios, asked for a film recommendation, Mnuchin said he wasn’t allowed to promote anything he was involved in before advising his audience to “send all your kids to ‘Lego Batman.’” Afterward, he sent a letter to the government ethics office promising to be more careful.

When Mnuchin resigned from his entertainment company before confirmation, his fiancee Louise Linton was temporarily installed as an unpaid chief executive officer, the Treasury Department wrote Senator Ron Wyden in response to questions from the Oregon Democrat, according to a copy of the letter. It said Linton, an actress whose credits include “Serial Daters Anonymous,” would resign once the sale was complete.

In a statement forwarded by her spokeswoman on Tuesday, Linton said she had “stepped aside to avoid any conflicts after Steven and I are married.” Their wedding is this weekend.

Last year, when Mnuchin was Trump’s top fundraiser, Ratner said he’d been taken aback by news of his partner’s role in the campaign. “I never talked politics with Steven,” the director said. “I didn’t even know he knew Trump.”

— With assistance by Bill Allison, and Saleha Mohsin

(Updates with Blavatnik detail in fifth paragraph.)
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