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Harvey Weinstein’s former studio seeks liquidation in bankruptcy court

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Harvey Weinstein's former movie studio is seeking to liquidate in bankruptcy, a final blow to a prestigious Hollywood institution that imploded when Weinstein was accused of abusing multiple women.

[LOS ANGELES] Harvey Weinstein's former movie studio is seeking to liquidate in bankruptcy, a final blow to a prestigious Hollywood institution that imploded when Weinstein was accused of abusing multiple women.

In a bankruptcy filing Tuesday, lawyers for the studio, the Weinstein Co., said it was burning through what little cash it had left.

The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and promptly sold off many of its assets to a private equity firm, Lantern Capital Partners, making a liquidation seem likely.

The studio, which helped make award-winning films like The King's Speech and The Artist, collapsed after dozens of women publicly accused Weinstein, its former chief executive, of sexual misconduct and assault dating back years. He also faces criminal charges in New York and has pleaded not guilty.

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The move to liquidate requires approval by the bankruptcy judge.

The Weinstein Co. has been negotiating for more than a year with insurers, creditors and women who have sued for compensation for abuse, and the filing could be legal maneuvering intended to speed up a resolution.

The filing said efforts to resolve legal claims by some of the women had stalled in recent months, putting more strain on dwindling resources.

But lawyers for some of the women and the New York attorney general's office painted a more optimistic picture of the mediation process, according to a separate bankruptcy filing Wednesday.

"The parties are literally days away from receiving a proposed global resolution," the lawyers said in the filing, adding that the settlement would include "remuneration for Harvey Weinstein's victims".

The women's lawyers and the attorney general's office did not weigh in on the merits of the liquidation request in their filing, but they objected to the Weinstein Co.'s proposal to hire a special litigation firm that would take 30 per cent of the proceeds of any settlement.

The filing said introducing a litigator into the mediation process could scuttle the talks, which started in April 2018.

It's not clear how much would be left to liquidate. The assets sold to Lantern included a library of old films, a small television production business and a handful of unreleased new films. Lantern offered US$310 million plus the assumption of about US$115 million in debt.

The Weinstein Co. said in the filing Tuesday that Lantern had agreed to close the deal only after the price was reduced by US$23 million.

NYTIMES