Miramax looking to sell

Shakespeare In Love, one of Miramax's movies, won the Best Picture Oscar in 1999.
Shakespeare In Love, one of Miramax's movies, won the Best Picture Oscar in 1999.PHOTO: UNIVERSAL

LOS ANGELES • The investors behind Miramax, the studio that owns Oscar winners Shakespeare In Love (1998) and Pulp Fiction (1994), are exploring a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said, as demand for content has grown with the rise of online viewing.

Miramax, which owns more than 700 films, could fetch as much as US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion), said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

The company, controlled by billionaire Thomas Barrack Jr's Colony Capital and Qatar Holding, is interviewing banks, the people said.

The film industry is experiencing a resurgence, with 2015 expected to be a record year at the United States box office. Investment in the sector, which ebbed during the financial crisis and after, is returning, and the proliferation of digital services such as Amazon.com and Netflix has led to increased demand for content.

Miramax's owners may be betting that the company's high- quality film library, which includes No Country For Old Men (2007) and Good Will Hunting (1997), will be attractive to potential buyers.

The process is being run by the board of Miramax, led by Mr Barrack, the founder and chairman of Colony Capital, one of the people said.

In 2010, a group including Qatar Holding, Colony Capital and Mr Ron Tutor purchased Miramax for US$660 million from Walt Disney Co. Mr Tutor later sold his stake to Qatar Holding.

The studio was founded in 1979 by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

The Weinstein brothers, who left in 2005 when the company was owned by Disney, reconnected with Miramax in 2013 to produce and distribute films and TV shows based on the studio's library content. They now run The Weinstein Co, a New York-based film studio.

Disney bought Miramax from the Weinsteins in 1993.

Miramax, named after the Weinsteins' parents Miriam and Max, has been reviving its production and distribution business the past couple years to increase the value of its library.

The company struck a deal with the Weinstein Co to make new films, TV shows and stage productions derived from the library. Miramax is also involved in Mr Holmes, a film with Oscar nominee Ian McKellen that opened in theatres here last Friday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Miramax looking to sell'. Print Edition | Subscribe