Disney sells Miramax to investor for $660 million

July 30, 2010 4:15:30 AM PDT
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. The entertainment company signed the 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.

Tutor and his partners put down a nonrefundable deposit of $40 million to Disney on Thursday. Disney said the deal could close as soon as Sept. 10.

Disney had been looking to sell Miramax amid a studio overhaul because it no longer resonated with its other family centric studio units such as Pixar and Marvel.

"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."

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).

The label was founded in 1979 by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who named it after their parents, Miriam and Max. It was sold to Disney for $80 million in 1993, and the brothers stayed on as managers. The Weinstein's recent bid to buy Miramax with the financial

backing of supermarket magnate Ron Burkle was halted after Burkle cut the offered price to about $565 million from $625 million.

Disney shares closed Thursday at $33.71.

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