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Wanda Pictures creditor of Weinstein Co

China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-03-23 14:40

It was a hot day in Qingdao in September 2013, but the Hollywood A-listers still turned out. There were Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ewan McGregor, Kate Beckinsale - and Harvey Weinstein.

They were there to support Wanda Studios' spectacular Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis complex, which is expected to open this August.

Wang Jianlin, the billionaire chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, spoke about the "Hollywood East" facility, which will include a 10,000-square-meter film studio.

Fast forward nearly five years, and Weinstein's company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, collapsing under the weight of lurid claims of sexual assault and harassment against him. He has denied any accusations of nonconsensual sex.

The curtain is coming down on the company co-founded by Weinstein and his brother Bob, and now it's time to see how much its creditors, including one Wanda Pictures, get paid.

Lantern Capital Partners, a Dallas-based private equity firm, plans to buy the movie-production company's assets for $310 million in cash, which requires The Weinstein Co to sell its film and television studios.

After Harvey Weinstein was fired in October, sexual allegations sprung up around the world, prompting police in the US and UK to start investigations. The women's #metoo movement and Time's Up campaigns also emerged, as more accusations of sexual harassment by men in Hollywood, entertainment and the media flowed forth.

In its bankruptcy filing on Monday under Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code, The Weinstein Co listed both assets and liabilities of between $500 million and $1 billion. Top secured creditors include Union Bank and Bank of America, who are owed $156 million.

One of the unsecured creditors is Wanda Pictures, which lent $14.4 million, according to the filing made in Delaware. An unsecured creditor is an individual or institution that lends money without getting specific assets as collateral.

In February 2017, Wanda took an equity stake in The Weinstein Co film Lion for distribution in China. Wanda and TWC previously collaborated on Antoine Fuqua's Southpaw in 2014.

Chances are that collaboration would not have continued even if the Weinstein scandal hadn't occurred.

Dalian Wanda Group sold most of its hotel and theme-park assets for more than $9 billion last year amid tighter Chinese government scrutiny on risky financing and overseas investment.

The company has canceled foreign investment plans after its high-profile acquisitions of overseas entertainment and sports assets drew regulatory attention in China.

Founded by the Weinstein brothers in 2005, the New York-based company produced back-to-back Academy Award-winners for Best Picture in 2010 (The King's Speech) and 2011 (The Artist), and its films have won 28 Oscars.

The Weinstein Co owns a 277-film library and its TV unit owns the rights to series such as Project Runway.

Any cash from the asset sale will go to its 200-plus creditors, in addition to the payment of wages, litigation claims and legal fees. Other unsecured creditors include marketing company Palisades Media ($13.7 million), David Boies' law firm Boies, Schiller and Flexner ($5.7 million), Viacom ($5.6 million) and Sony Pictures Entertainment ($3.7 million).

Bloomberg contributed to this story.

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