By Jessica DiNapoli
(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc has written down to zero the value of its stake in the Weinstein Company, the movie studio whose co-chairman Harvey Weinstein stepped down last month following sexual assault allegations, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Goldman Sachs’ move comes as the Weinstein Company looks for fresh financing after more than 50 women claimed that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades.
Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.
Last month, Goldman Sachs said it was trying to find a buyer for its stake in the Weinstein Company. A Goldman Sachs spokesman had said at the time that the bank valued the stake at less than $1 million.
The source did not disclose how much of the Weinstein Company Goldman Sachs owns, but described the stake as small. He asked not to be identified because the bank has not publicly released its latest valuation.
A Weinstein Company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.
One of the Weinstein Company’s lenders, AI International Holdings Limited, an affiliate of billionaire Len Blavatnik’s industrial group Access Industries, filed a lawsuit last Friday in New York State Supreme Court demanding immediate repayment of its approximately $44 million loan.
Referring to the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, AI International stated in court papers that his actions and his departure from the company have “left [the business] in shambles,” and “exposed to potentially massive liabilities [that] have severely, if not fatally, damaged its standing in the marketplace.”
A spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein declined to comment.
The Weinstein Company’s other lenders include Bank of America and MUFG Union Bank N.A., according to the lawsuit. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Weinstein Company’s board of directors has been receiving advice from investment bank Moelis & Co on its efforts to raise cash, including by potentially selling assets and finding a rescue loan, sources have previously told Reuters. A Moelis spokeswoman declined to comment.
Investment firm Fortress Investment Group LLC was considering lending to the film and TV studio, but those talks ended without a deal last week, according to another person familiar with the matter. Fortress would consider providing Weinstein Co with funding to help it through a bankruptcy process, if it came to that, the person said.
A Fortress spokesman declined to comment.
The Weinstein Company’s lenders have hired investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc for financial advice in a potential restructuring, a source close to that situation said.
The Weinstein Co has been one of Hollywood’s most influential forces since its launch in October 2005 and has produced and distributed films including “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; editing by Ben Klayman and Clive McKeef)