Following its failed sale to an investor group, the Weinstein Company announced Monday night that it has officially filed for bankruptcy.
Despite the filing to seek bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of alleged sexual assault accusations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein and the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's subsequent civil rights lawsuit, the beleaguered film production company has secured a "stalking horse" bid on their assets from Lantern Capital, Variety reports. The bid was secured in an effort to set a minimum sale price to avoid other interested parties from lowballing the company.
"While we had hoped to reach a sale out of court, the Board is pleased to have a plan for maximizing the value of its assets, preserving as many jobs as possible and pursuing justice for any victims," the Weinstein Company co-founder Bob Weinstein said in a statement Monday.
"The Board selected Lantern in part due to Lantern’s commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern," he added. "The Company hopes that this orderly sale process under the supervision of the Bankruptcy Court will allow it to maximize the value of the Company’s assets for the benefit of its creditors and other stakeholders.”
As part of Monday's filing, the Weinstein Company also lifted all non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) placed on the company's employees; signed NDAs are blamed, in part, for acting as a safeguard that shielded Harvey Weinstein's predatory behavior.
"No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet," Bob Weinstein said. "The Company thanks the courageous individuals who have already come forward. Your voices have inspired a movement for change across the country and around the world."
"This is a watershed moment for efforts to address the corrosive effects of sexual misconduct in the workplace. The Weinstein Company's agreement to release victims of and witnesses to sexual misconduct from non-disclosure agreements ... will finally enable voices that have for too long been muzzled to be heard," Schneiderman said in a statement Monday. "Our lawsuit against The Weinstein Company, Bob Weinstein, and Harvey Weinstein remains active and our investigation is ongoing."
As Variety notes, Lantern was also a part of the failed bid by the investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet. Negotiations over that $500 million offer broke down following the New York lawsuit as well as the discovery of the company's underreported debts. The Weinstein Company previously warned it would declare bankruptcy if the company wasn't sold outright.
"We are honored to be selected as the bidder to acquire the company’s businesses as an ongoing concern. In the last several months, Lantern has evaluated the company and is proud to provide a solution to the board," Lantern said in a statement Monday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, MGM, Killer Content, Lionsgate and beIN Media, the Qatari-owned company that owns the rights to the Weinsteins' Miramax library, are among the expected bidders for the Weinstein Company's assets, which includes hundreds of films and television series.