Ron Burkle sues for cut of Weinstein Company sale
Ron Burkle feels he got stiffed on the sale of the Weinstein Company.
The investor’s Yucaipa Cos. has sued Lantern Capital, the studio’s new owner, for not paying a transaction fee of nearly $6 million it claims is owed for providing “extensive knowledge” of the company in advance of Lantern’s winning bid.
The due diligence it provided Lantern helped the private equity firm submit the winning $289 million “stalking horse bid” for the studio, Yucaipa claimed in court papers.
Yucaipa, in its suit, alleges that it has an oral agreement with Lantern to receive 2 percent of any purchase price.
“Virtually all of Lantern’s knowledge about [the studio] was obtained by leveraging the due diligence conducted and paid for by Yucaipa,” according to the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Yucaipa says it was approached by Lantern, a Dallas PE firm, when last year’s ouster of Weinstein co-founder Harvey Weinstein amid allegations of sexual misconduct put the studio’s future at risk.
Having invested in 12 Weinstein Co. films — including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “August: Osage County” — Yucaipa called itself a “natural” to pursue the studio’s assets.
Lantern initially committed $50 million to a group sponsored by Yucaipa and fronted by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet.
The group’s offer in March to buy the studio pre-bankruptcy for $500 million allegedly entitled Yucaipa to a 2 percent fee for “deal-sponsor services.”
Later, after the parties considered bankruptcy unavoidable, an oral agreement allowed Lantern to continue to use Yucaipa’s diligence for the same 2 percent — or $5.78 million, based on the transaction’s closing price, the suit claims.
Yucaipa contends Lantern has since “indicated it would no longer honor the agreement.”
A Lantern spokesperson told The Post, “We do not comment on litigation.”
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