Los Angeles: The newly recombined ViacomCBS is poised to own nearly half of the studio behind some of the biggest indie film hits of the 1990s and 2000s.
The New York media firm on Friday said it would pay $375 million for a 49 per cent stake in Los Angeles-based company Miramax, which is responsible for critically acclaimed films including “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
ViacomCBS, which owns the Paramount Pictures movie studio and TV channels including MTV and Comedy Central, is expected to make ample use of Miramax’s valuable library, which includes such Oscar winners as “The English Patient” and “No Country for Old Men.”
The company also said it would delve into Miramax’s 700-film library to generate new film and TV projects, at a time when exploiting well-established intellectual property is the name of the entertainment industry game.
Bob Bakish, chief executive of ViacomCBS, called the deal “a unique opportunity to gain access to a valuable library, deepening our already substantial pool of I.P. at a time when demand for premium content is only accelerating.”
Under terms of the agreement, ViacomCBS will acquire its stake in Miramax from beIN Media Group for an upfront cash payment of approximately $150 million, along with $45 million annually for five years to be used for new film and television productions and working capital, the company said.
BeIN will continue to own 51 per cent of Miramax, and Miramax’s leadership team will remain in place, the companies said.
Miramax is the first studio cofounded by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob Weinstein. The two launched the studio in 1979 and helped create the playbook for the commercially viable indie movie, dominating the market through the 1990s.
The Weinsteins sold Miramax, named for their parents Miriam and Max, to Walt Disney Co. in 1993 and left in 2005 after a bitter dispute with Disney to form Weinstein Co. in New York. Disney sold Miramax to an investor group led by real estate magnate Ron Tutor, Colony Capital and Qatar Investment Authority for $660 million in 2010. Tutor later sold his stake.
BeIN acquired the business from Colony and Qatar in 2016.
The Weinstein brothers’ next company, Weinstein Co., collapsed after Harvey Weinstein was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault.
Miramax has been on the market for months, and several suitors had expressed interest. Lionsgate dropped out of the bidding in September.