Update: On Mar. 6, Contreras-Sweet confirmed that her group, which included billionaire Ron Burkle, is pulling out of the deal due to concerns about the company’s finances and viability. She said she’d consider acquiring the film and TV studio’s assets if they become available in bankruptcy.
The Weinstein Co. is now in the hands of Maria Contreras-Sweet, as confirmed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
A group of investors led by the former Obama-era administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration reached a deal to buy the production company’s assets last week.
“Our team is pleased to announce that we have taken an important step and have reached an agreement to purchase assets from The Weinstein Company in order to launch a new company, with a new board and a new vision that embodies the principles that we have stood by since we began this process last fall,” Contreras-Sweet said in a statement and stressed the importance of a women-dominate board: “Those principles have never wavered and have always been to build a movie studio led by a board of directors made up of a majority of independent women, save about 150 jobs, protect the small businesses who are owed money and create a victims’ compensation fund that would supplement existing insurance coverage for those who have been harmed.”
The Mexico-born businesswoman, who founded commercial bank ProAmerica that specialized in Latino-owned businesses, reportedly plans on giving the company a new name, but intends to keep the studio’s employees and projects intact. Last November, Contreras-Sweet revealed her plan on making the company a “women-led venture” in her proposal letter to the company’s board of directors. “The recent events at The Weinstein Company have put focus on how women in the entertainment industry have been treated,” she wrote. “We believe that reorganizing the Company as a woman-led venture will be an inspiration to the industry, and a new model for how an entertainment company can be both financially successful and treat all its employees with dignity and respect.”
This new direction comes after a wave of allegations was spurred by a slew of stories alleging sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that started back in October. Weinstein, who was fired from the film company, is currently under investigation in New York, Los Angeles, and London after the former producer was accused by over 60 women of various forms of sexual assault and misconduct, which he continues to deny.
Originally, the prospective sale to Contreras-Sweet and Ron Burkle, an investor who is backing the deal, initially fell through and it was later announced that the Weinstein Co. was going into bankruptcy. A deal was eventually reached on Mar. 2 with a majority stake in the company for the two at a reported $500 million.