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Miramax founders kick-start new firm- CNN.com- 5/20/05

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  • Miramax founders kick-start new firm- CNN.com- 5/20/05

    Weinstein Co. says Goldman Sachs plans to invest while Rainbow Media agrees to distribution deal.

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Miramax Film founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein said Thursday that Goldman Sachs will invest in their new movie company and unveiled a television and video distribution deal with cable company Rainbow Media.

    The deals help energize the new company formed by the Weinsteins as they prepare to leave Walt Disney Co's (Research) Miramax Films unit at the end of September, ending an uneasy relationship with Chief Executive Michael Eisner.

    The brothers have said they hope to raise $1 billion as they build up Weinstein Co., which will first focus on movies and later could branch into the Internet and other digital media.

    Terms of the investment by Goldman Sachs, which is taking an equity stake and providing a bridge loan, were not disclosed. The Goldman loan was about $100 million, one source estimated.

    Harvey Weinstein joked on a call with reporters that the company had been pursuing fiscal discipline as they trolled the Cannes film festival, where they began Miramax some 25 years ago. They agreed to distribute three Dino de Laurentiis films in North America.

    Rainbow, a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp. (Research), agreed to co-own a film library with the Weinstein Co. for distribution to television and home video. Rainbow cable networks include The Independent Film Channel, WE: Women's Entertainment, and Fuse, a music video channel.

    The films will be selected by the Weinstein brothers and funded by Rainbow Media, the two companies said in a statement. Both sides will share equally in the distribution profits.

    Disney and the Weinsteins will work together on some projects, even after the brothers leave the company.

    Under the deal with Rainbow, the Weinsteins will also exclusively distribute the home videos of original series, specials and documentaries done by Rainbow's networks and its movie arm, IFC films.
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