Harvey Weinstein's former production company gets a financial lifeline

Colony Capital, a private equity fund run by President Donald Trump's close ally Tom Barrack, has agreed to provide "an immediate cash infusion" to the Weinstein Co., the firm co-founded by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, both companies said. The two are also in talks that could lead to a sale of all or a significant portion of the Weinstein Co.'s assets.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The investment by Colony Capital will provide the movie-and-TV studio "comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners," said Weinstein board member Tarak Ben Ammar. That comfort is critical while the company distances itself from co-founder Harvey Weinstein, who has been dogged by reports of sexual harassment. 

The Weinstein Co. has a movie production business closely associated with Harvey Weinstein, but it produces "uneven returns," according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported that, in recent years, the producer lost his ability to pick Oscar-winning films. The company's television division, which produces the hit Bravo reality show "Project Runway," had positive cash flow as of a year ago, when the company was hoping to sell it for hundreds of millions of dollars, the newspaper said.

"We believe the Company has substantial value and growth potential, and we look forward to working with the Company's critical strategic distribution and production partners to help preserve and create value for all stakeholders, including its employees," Barrack said in a press release.

The 65-year-old Weinstein was fired by Weinstein Co. on Oct. 8 amid allegations from dozens of women that Weinstein harassed them over a period of decades. Police in New York and London are reportedly investigating some women's claims that Weinstein raped them. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is behind the Oscars, expelled Weinstein as a member over the weekend. Since then, the Weinstein Co. had reportedly considered whether to sell itself or shut down its operations.

Barrack, a grandson of Lebanese immigrants, made his fortune in the real estate business before expanding to media and entertainment a few years ago. He was the chairman of President Trump's inauguration and speaks with him regularly, though he recently said he was shocked by some of the president's comments.

In 2010, Colony and a unit of the Qatari Investment Authority agreed to acquire the Miramax studio from Walt Disney Co. for $660 million. Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob founded Miramax in 1979 and sold it to Disney in 1993. Colony's other holdings include Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch and debt incurred by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

  • Jonathan Berr On Twitter»

    Jonathan Berr is an award-winning journalist and podcaster based in New Jersey whose main focus is on business and economic issues.