Weinstein Co. Nears Sale to Group Led by Ex-SBA Chief

Maria Contreras-Sweet

Photographer: J. Countess/Getty Images for SBA

A group led by former Small Business Administration chief Maria Contreras-Sweet entered exclusive talks to buy the troubled Weinstein Co. film studio, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The negotiations could lead to a sale of the company in the next two weeks, said two people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Contreras-Sweet, who served under President Barack Obama, has emerged as the lead bidder among a group of would-be buyers that included Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and beIN, the Qatar-based owner of Miramax -- the previous film studio founded by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

Under terms she presented to Weinstein Co. in November, Contreras-Sweet would lead a majority-female board to supervise the company, which has teetered near bankruptcy after Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment or assault by several women. Contreras-Sweet’s investment group would assume most of the liabilities of Weinstein Co. and create a fund to supplement its insurance and compensate victims of sexual harassment.

Weinstein Co., creator of Oscar-winning pictures such as “The King’s Speech” and hit TV shows such as “Project Runway,” has been reeling from a loss of business since the allegations against its co-founder surfaced in October. Weinstein, who was dismissed from the company, has said any sexual relationships he had were consensual.

The exclusive talks were reported earlier by Deadline.

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