Disney to sell £423m Miramax films

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The Independent Culture

Walt Disney today unveiled a 660 million US dollar (£423 million) deal to sell Miramax Films - the movie studio behind hits such as Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare In Love.

Miramax is to be sold to a group of private investors in a move that ends a 17-year association with Walt Disney and completes a lengthy bidding process.

Miramax has an Oscar-laden film library of more than 700 titles, including prestigious films such as My Left Foot, Good Will Hunting and more recently No Country For Old Men.

But Disney is offloading the studio amid an overhaul to focus on its more family-centric film production brands such as Pixar and Marvel.

Robert Iger, Disney's president and chief executive, said: "Although we are very proud of Miramax's many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands.

"We are delighted that we have found a home for the Miramax brand and Miramax's very highly regarded motion picture library."

Disney signed a sale agreement late last night with Filmyard Holding, an investor group led by construction magnate Ronald Tutor.

Other investors include property investment group Colony Capital and its chief executive Tom Barrack.

Disney hopes the deal will be completed as soon as September.

Miramax was founded in 1979 by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who named it after their parents, Miriam and Max.

It was sold to Disney for 80 million dollars (£51.3 million) in 1993, and the brothers stayed on as managers.

But the duo left in 2005 to found The Weinstein Company after years of troubled relations with Disney and a public spat over Michael Moore's 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which Disney refused to distribute.

The Weinstein Company recently bid to buy Miramax with the financial backing of supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle, but lost out after Mr Burkle slashed the offer price.