UPDATE 2-Burkle and Weinstein say Miramax talks ongoing

* Source says deal appears near breaking point

* Source says exclusive window to expire this week

* Miramax has more than 600 films in library
(Updates that Burkle and Weinstein say talks still going; adds
deal financing)

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES, May 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Billionaire Ron Burkle and
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on Friday said they were
continuing efforts to buy Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N: ) Miramax
Films, playing down media reports that the long-gestating deal
had fallen through.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation had told
Reuters earlier that talks to hammer out final details in the
sale were ongoing. But a third source told Reuters the deal
appeared near a breaking point amid disagreements between the
buyers over control of the unit.

“The Weinstein Brothers, The Weinstein Company and Ron
Burkle are all working towards a deal to purchase and operate
Miramax. The parties continue to work diligently towards an
agreement,” Burkle and Weinstein said in a joint statement.

Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos, which has grocery store holdings, and
Weinstein Company, run by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein,
have launched what sources have said was a $625 million bid for
Miramax, which has a library of more than 600 films including
“Pulp Fiction” and “The English Patient.”

The joint statement from Burkle and Weinstein came after
reports in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times that
the deal had fallen through.

The third source with knowledge of the situation told
Reuters that discussions have hit a roadblock for now, as
tensions emerged between the two would-be buyers.

The parties entered into an exclusive negotiating window in
April on the sale of Miramax.

The first source said a deal could be reached within the
next two weeks and that the remaining stumbling blocks are not
over the final price tag, but over details such as the
percentages on revenue-sharing agreements.

The second source with knowledge of the situation said
Yucaipa would receive financing on the deal from investment
firm Fortress Financial Group.

Disney declined to comment.

A source with knowledge of the situation said that the
exclusive window has been extended as talks continued and that
it was due to expire at the end of this week.

Before it entered into exclusive talks with Yucaipa and the
Weinsteins, sources said Disney had received a $650 million
offer from embattled film executive David Bergstein, who had
recently been taken to court by creditors seeking to force
several of his companies into bankruptcy.

Disney also had received a $550 million offer from the
firms of financiers Alec and Tom Gores, with their brother Sam
Gores, head of Paradigm Talent Agency, acting as advisor,
sources said. That bid was later raised, sources said, but it
was unclear by how much.

Disney has sought to sell its Miramax unit after shuttering
its production division. The company views Miramax, with its
edgy mix of films, as a poor fit for Disney’s family-friendly
business focus.

Stock Market Advice

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Gary Hill)

UPDATE 2-Burkle and Weinstein say Miramax talks ongoing