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ViacomCBS to purchase stake in Miramax from Bein for US$375m

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US entertainment conglomerate ViacomCBS will buy a large minority stake in the Miramax film studio from Qatar's Bein Media Group for US$375 million, the parties announced Friday.

[NEW YORK] US entertainment conglomerate ViacomCBS will buy a large minority stake in the Miramax film studio from Qatar's Bein Media Group for US$375 million, the parties announced Friday.

The transaction for 49 per cent of Miramax - co-founded by disgraced former movie magnate Harvey Weinstein -- aims to bolster ViacomCBS's holdings as media companies scramble to respond to a consumer shift to streaming platforms.

The transaction grants ViacomCBS access to Miramax's library of more than 700 titles, including the Oscar-winning "Chicago" and "The English Patient," as well as some of Quentin Tarantino's early output.

It comes only weeks after the closure of the long-discussed Viacom-CBS merger.

Paramount Pictures, a Viacom unit, will have exclusive distribution rights to Miramax's library, which will benefit from Paramount's marketing and distribution, the companies said in a news release.

The agreement also gives Paramount authority to develop, finance and distribute new film and television productions based on Miramax intellectual property and envisions co-financing between the companies.

"Miramax is a renowned global studio, responsible for some of the most iconic films of the last three decades, including 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Good Will Hunting,' 'Kill Bill' and more," said ViacomCBS chief executive Bob Bakish.

"This partnership with Bein will be a unique opportunity to gain access to a valuable library, deepening our already substantial pool of (intellectual property) at a time when demand for premium content is only accelerating."

ViacomCBS will pay an upfront cash amount of US$150 million, along with a commitment to invest US$45 million annually over the next five years on new film and television productions.

Founded in 1979 by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Miramax changed hands a number of times before Bein Group purchased the assets in March 2016 from a consortium that included Qatar Investment Authority and Colony Capital.

Weinstein's career collapsed in October 2017 amid a torrent of allegations from dozens of actresses and former employees for offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape in a scandal that helped launch the #MeToo movement.

He is scheduled to face a January trial in New York for rape and forcibly performing oral sex on a woman.

AFP