May 1, 2018 / 8:51 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 3-Broadway producer attempts to make late bid for Weinstein Co

(Updates with details on attempted late bid)

By Jessica DiNapoli

May 1 (Reuters) - A company formed by Broadway producer Howard Kagan attempted to make a late Tuesday bid for the Weinstein Company, the TV and film studio that filed for bankruptcy after co-founder Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault, setting up an auction if the bid is considered.

After Monday's bid deadline had passed, Kagan's Inclusion Media LLC submitted a bid of $315 million in cash, according to documents provided to Reuters by Lorna Brett, a spokeswoman for a law firm suing Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.

Brett does not represent Kagan or Inclusion, neither of which immediately responded to requests for comment.

The Inclusion bid, submitted to lawyers and advisers for The Weinstein Co and to its creditors committee, tops an initial bid by private equity firm Lantern Capital worth $310 million. Inclusion also provided a compensation fund for those with harassment claims against Weinstein.

Lantern was the only bid for the entire company that was received by Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline, several sources told Reuters.

The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy in March with the offer from Lantern Capital in hand as a so-called stalking horse bidder.

It was unclear if The Weinstein Company will consider the bid by Inclusion, a company recently formed by Kagan, an investment banker who spent the past 10 years producing Broadway musicals, according to the bid documents.

Brett, who represents Armenta Law Firm, said Inclusion was seeking a deadline extension for its bid. Armenta represents Louisette Geiss, an actress who is suing The Weinstein Company and who also chairs the unsecured creditors committee in the bankruptcy.

If the bid is accepted, an auction pitting Lantern against Inclusion will take place on Wednesday, and a hearing to confirm the sale is scheduled for Friday.

There were some offers for parts of the company that were not accepted, a source told Reuters.

The sources asked not to be identified ahead of an official announcement. The Weinstein Company declined to comment, while Lantern did not respond to a request for comment.

The company has been trying to line up a buyer for months.

When the allegations against Harvey Weinstein became public in October, the company's board fired him, and Hollywood heavyweights distanced themselves from the studio.

Combined with lawsuits filed by Harvey Weinstein's alleged victims, the company was an unappealing acquisition target.

EARLIER OFFER SCUTTLED

An offer for the studio from a group of investors led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet failed to produce a deal earlier this year, after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil lawsuit against the company and demanded more compensation for victims.

Following Schneiderman's intervention, Contreras-Sweet's offer was tweaked to include an $80 million to $90 million compensation fund that would supplement any insurance payouts victims would receive.

Harvey Weinstein, once one of Hollywood's most influential men, has been accused of sexual misconduct including rape by more than 70 women.

He has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. It is unclear how much money his alleged victims will receive should a deal with Lantern go through.

Co-founded with Bob Weinstein, Harvey's brother, the Weinstein Company produced and distributed critically acclaimed hits including "The King's Speech" and "Silver Linings Playbook," as well as TV's fashion reality competition "Project Runway."

With its bankruptcy filing, the Weinstein Company said it released anyone "who suffered or witnessed any form of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein" from nondisclosure agreements, contracts that prevented victims from speaking out.

Weinstein Company's prized asset is its library of 277 feature films that have generated over $2 billion in aggregate box office receipts worldwide.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Lantern is a buyout firm founded by Andy Mitchell, the former head of Ally Financial's global special assets group. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York Additional reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao, Arun Koyyur and Cynthia Osterman)

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