The Weinstein Company Files For Bankruptcy As Sale Talks Fail

The Weinstein Company will declare bankruptcy following last-ditch attempts to sell its assets to an investor group.

The talks with the group, led by former Obama-era Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras-Sweet, have failed, leading the company's board of directors to announce that they are filing for bankruptcy.

The embattled company was set to be sold to the investor group led by Contreras-Sweet for $500 million. Plans had gone far enough for Contreras-Sweet to outline her plans for the company, including a name change and a rehauled workplace. However, the deal appeared to collapse over the investor group's refusal to put up the cash immediately.

In a letter addressed to investors Ron Burkle and Maria Contreras-Sweet, the Weinstein Company's board of directors said (via Variety):

"Based on the events of the past week, however, we must conclude that your plan to buy this company was illusory and would only leave this Company hobbling toward its demise to the detriment of all constituents. Despite your previous statements, it is simply impossible to avoid the conclusion that you have no intention to sign an agreement – much less to close one – and no desire to save valuable assets and jobs."

Adding that the board recognizes "that this is an extremely unfortunate outcome for our employees, our creditors and any victims," the statement says that the Weinstein Company has "no choice but to pursue the only viable option to maximize the company's remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process."

The Harvey Weinstein sexual assault revelations rocked Hollywood, and the company that the disgraced Hollywood executive co-founded has desperately tried to pick itself up from the wreckage. Weinstein was promptly fired from his position at the company, and an internal investigation was launched into his alleged years-long history of sexual assault and misconduct.

However, the company's attempts to distance itself from its namesake were mostly for naught, as the filmmakers quickly fled deals with The Weinstein Company and its films were dropped from release.

The bid was backed by billionaire investor Ronald Burkle and Dallas private equity firm Lantern Asset Management, which would have given Contreras-Sweet's consortium control of Weinstein Co.'s assets, including acclaimed films like Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight, Kevin Smith's Clerks II, Best Picture winners The King's Speech and The Artist, and TV series like Project Runway. Under the deal, Contreras-Sweet would install a majority-female board of directors and raise a $40 million fund for Weinstein's victims.

But, according to the LA Times, discussions came to a sudden halt on February 11 when the New York attorney general's office filed a civil rights lawsuit against Weinstein Company and its co-founders. Attorney Gen. Eric Schneiderman criticized the proposed sale and questioned the existence of the promised victims fund. The Weinstein Company attempted to salvage the talks by firing Chief Operating Officer David Glasser, who Schneiderman had accused of not adequately responding to complaints about Weinstein, but it was not enough.