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Disney Ends Miramax Talks With Burkle, Weinsteins

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LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. has called off talks to sell its Miramax movie division to billionaire Ron Burkle for $625 million, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

The deal would have seen the label's founders, the Weinstein brothers, regain control of the Oscar-laden catalog.

The talks with Burkle and the Weinsteins hit an impasse over how The Weinstein Co. would benefit from the arrangement and how Harvey and Bob Weinstein would spend their time managing two movie studios. Disney called off the talks late Monday, the person said.

A second person familiar with the talks said Disney on Monday reopened negotiations with another pair of brothers who are bidding for the unit, Alec and Tom Gores.

Neither person was authorized to speak publicly and both spoke on condition of anonymity.

A Disney spokesman declined immediate comment.

The Gores, themselves billionaire investors, had earlier bid around $550 million for Miramax and its 600-plus film library plus several films that have been completed but not released.

The Gores' bid had been put on hold while Disney negotiated exclusively since mid-April to reach an agreement on Burkle's $625 million bid, which included the Weinsteins as managers.

Hopes had been high that a deal could be announced during the Cannes Film Festival, especially with the Weinsteins in attendance, but the event wrapped up Sunday with no announcement.

The Gores are also in talks to buy Overture Films, a division of Liberty Media Corp., but it is not clear how that might influence a deal for Miramax.

Alec Gores is the head of Gores Group, the majority owner of radio network Westwood One Inc. Tom Gores heads Platinum Equity, whose holdings include The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper.

The Weinsteins founded Miramax, naming it after their parents, Miriam and Max, in 1979. They sold it to Disney for $80 million in 1993 but continued to manage it.

They left in 2005 to found The Weinstein Co. 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.

Miramax's library is full of prestigious films such as "My Left Foot" (1989), "Pulp Fiction" (1994) and "Good Will Hunting" (1997), and still makes money on home video and television.

Disney has been looking to sell the label because it no longer resonates with its other family-centric studio units such as Pixar and Marvel.

Disney stopped investing in new Miramax projects this year, laying off all but a handful of staff beginning in January in a major round of cost-cutting and reorganization under its new studios chairman, Rich Ross.

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AP Source: Disney Ends Miramax Talks With Burkle

Disney won't sell Miramax to Weinsteins, reports say