Harvey Weinstein’s beleaguered company may have found a buyer in Lantern Asset Management, a small private equity shop.
The Weinstein Company and its affiliates filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. District Court of Delaware on Monday. The court filings revealed that Lantern Asset Management has taken on the role of stalking horse bidder, offering $310 million for the company.
The Weinstein Company has struggled to find a buyer in the months following claims that its founder, Harvey Weinstein, had sexually harassed or assaulted a number of actresses and female models.
Colony Capital was in talks with the company in October 2017, shortly after the first allegations were made public, but ultimately bowed out of the deal. An investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, also considered purchasing the firm, but backed out of the deal after accessing the company’s financials, according to Bloomberg.
[II Deep Dive: Colony Capital in Acquisition Talks With Weinstein Co.]
Enter Lantern Asset Management. The firm was formed in September 2010 after Centerbridge Partners acquired the resort finance business of GMAC Commercial Finance. Though it started out managing resort assets, the firm has since expanded its reach into other sectors, specializing in turning around distressed companies.
The team includes Andy Mitchell, Lantern’s founder and CEO; partners Milos Brajovic, Tom Schmidt, and William Srinivasan; and CFO Chris Halpin. Mitchell most recently served as chief risk officer of Ally Financial’s global special assets group. Brajovic is the founder of Noster Credit, a special situations credit shop, while Schmidt founded Providence Capital, an alternative asset manager that he left behind in 2015, according to his LinkedIn page.
Srinivasan previously worked for Spear Street Capital, a real estate asset manager, and Halpin was the controller at Highland Capital Management prior to joining Lantern.
The Dallas-based asset manager owns several luxury resorts, as well as a dry goods shipping platform, auto dealerships, and a zinc recycler. But the $310 million payment for the Weinstein Co. could be a heavy lift for Lantern, which typically targets middle-market investments priced between $20 million and $150 million.
The next steps for the Weinstein Company’s bankruptcy case – and Lantern’s potential acquisition of the company – mainly come in the form of court proceedings. The judge in the case has an April 3 deadline to approve bidding procedures for the auction of the company.
If the judge approves current procedures, potential bidders will have to make offers before or on April 30. If there are bidders beyond Lantern, an auction will be held on May 2, and a sale hearing will be held two days later on May 4.