Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Weinstein Co., the independent studio founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, is seeking to raise about $150 million to support film operations and retire debt, according to two people with knowledge of the effort.
The loan may be part of a larger strategic initiative by the New York-based studio, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The amount may change, the people said.
The fundraising effort coincides with a return to critical and commercial success for the Weinstein Co., which is among the top recipients of Oscar nominations this year for pictures including “The Artist” and “My Week With Marilyn.” The studio, which won best picture last year for “The King’s Speech,” is again winning raves in Hollywood.
A new loan would be backed by the existing Weinstein library, said the people. Union Bank is leading the arrangements, one of the people said.
David Glasser, Weinstein Co.’s chief operating officer, declined to comment. Jane Yedinak, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Union Bank, didn’t respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment outside of business hours.
Weinstein Co. struggled financially after the brothers left Walt Disney Co.’s Miramax in 2005 and formed their own company. In 2010, the studio eliminated debt by transferring ownership of some 250 movies to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Assured Guaranty Ltd., a person with knowledge of the situation said at the time.
Weinstein Co. has rights to buy back the films from Goldman, including “The Road” and “Halloween II,” before 2016. The studio retained control of about 150 titles, including “The Reader” and “Inglourious Basterds.” The Weinsteins founded Miramax and sold it to Disney in 1993.
“The King’s Speech,” co-produced by Weinstein Co., cost $15 million to make and generated an Oscar-propelled $414 million worldwide, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.
The company has continued its creative renaissance in the current awards season. Weinstein Co. garnered 16 Oscar nominations for pictures such as “The Artist,” “The Iron Lady” and “My Week With Marilyn,” according to a company spokeswoman.
“The Artist,” up for best picture and best actor, has taken in $27.4 million to date in the U.S. and Canada, according to researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office. “My Week With Marilyn” has generated $13.6 million.
In January, the Weinstein Co. announced it’s participating in an original scripted program, “Marco Polo,” with the Starz premium cable TV channel and Electus, run by former NBC Entertainment head Ben Silverman.
--With assistance from Rob Golum in Los Angeles. Editors: Rob Golum, Anthony Palazzo
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