Burkle Joins Bid for Miramax

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos, in a partnership with movie producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, has offered to pay $600 million for Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Miramax, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday, joining a small pool of bidders for the art-house studio.

Yucaipa could use its retail interests across the United States to sell DVDs from Miramax’s 700-title library — including hits “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” — at stores, the source added without elaborating.

The Weinstein Co chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who are partnered with Yucaipa on the bid, sold Miramax to Disney in 1993. Other bidders for Miramax include Gores Group LLC and Platinum Equity.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the news.

The private equity firm remains nervous about overpaying and is unlikely to raise its offer should competition heat up, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous because the bidding was not public.

Entertainment executives had said Disney was asking for $650 million, deemed too high a price to invite stronger interest. Deadlines for bids had been set initially for March 31, but Disney has had to postpone that at least twice.

The auction for Miramax is occurring at the same time interested buyers circle once-powerful Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. That sale has also faced hurdles and creditors are mulling plans to turn around the famed studio, home to the James Bond franchise, after being disappointed with bids received.

Yucaipa declined to comment. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Edwin Chan; Editing by Richard Chang)