Surprise Weinstein Co. Bidder — A former Obama Official — Proposes Female-Majority Board

By Ryan Faughnder
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) If the deal goes through, former SBA Chief Maria Contreras-Sweet could become chairwoman of the Weinstein Co. board. As a condition of the deal with Contreras-Sweet and her financial backers, the company would have to set up a mediation process and litigation fund to compensate alleged victims of Weinstein.

Los Angeles Times

A former Obama administration official has submitted a bid to buy the Weinstein Co. and install a majority-female board of directors, in a surprising twist for the beleaguered film and television studio that has been trying to avoid bankruptcy.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, who ran the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2014 to 2017, sent a letter to the Weinstein Co. board of directors this month offering to buy the company and assume liabilities related to its business operations.

Contreras-Sweet would become chairwoman of the Weinstein Co. board, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Los Angeles Times. Her letter, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, did not include financial details.

“I believe we have now reached a crossroads where it is imperative that a woman-led board acquire control of the company and create content that continues to inspire audiences around the world, especially our young girls and boys,” Contreras-Sweet said in the Nov. 8 letter.

Weinstein Co. representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Such a deal would be a remarkable development for the onetime independent film powerhouse, which has spent more than a month confronting sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

Last week, Weinstein Co. got a much-needed financial lifeline when it sold its North American distribution rights for “Paddington 2” to Warner Bros. in a deal worth about $30 million, which it split with French-owned StudioCanal.

People close to the studio said the money will help keep Weinstein Co. out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it explores options.

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