Goldman to invest in Weinsteins' new film venture

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Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein on Thursday said investment bank Goldman Sachs had agreed to make an equity investment and supply interim debt financing for their new film company.

The two parties refused to provide details about the size or characteristics of the investment, citing regulatory concerns. A person familiar with the negotiations said the brothers had secured commitments of about $1bn for the venture.

The financing deal followed a distribution and acquisition pact the Weinsteins signed with Cablevision's Rainbow Media division this week in an effort to bolster their film library.

Together, the two deals have given shape to the Weinsteins' vision for a new media company two months after they completed a messy divorce from Walt Disney, Miramax's corporate parent. “Things are in good shape. This is a happy time for us,” Harvey Weinstein said from Cannes, where the brothers acquired their first foreign film for US distribution in 1979. Their new venture, known as The Weinstein Company, is expected to begin operations with the release of its first film in October.

Goldman said: “We're very excited to be partners with Bob and Harvey.”

The Weinsteins also announced they expected to receive an equity investment from producer Tarak Ben Ammar, who will contribute US distribution rights for three movies with a combined budget of $185m at no charge. Mr Ben Amar is also expected to join the company's board.

Under the Rainbow agreement, The Weinstein Company will receive an undisclosed amount of cash from Rainbow to acquire films for broadcast on TV and home video. Rainbow's US cable networks, which include AMC, IFC, the Independent Film Channel and WE: Women's Entertainment, will receive the first option for the TV premiere of each film.

The deal also calls for the Weinsteins to act as exclusive domestic distributors for films and other programmes produced by Rainbow, as well as the foreign sales agent for IFC movies.

The Weinsteins were forced to leave behind an 800-title Miramax library that included such hits as Pulp Fiction when they left Disney. Film libraries offer steady and predictable cashflow that can offset the risks of new releases.

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