The Weinstein Company to file for bankruptcy

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars in Los Angeles. Weinstein is taking a leave of absence from his own company after The New York Times released a report alleging decades of sexual harassment against women

The board of directors of The Weinstein Company said late Sunday the New York film and TV studio planned to file for bankruptcy after talks to sell it collapsed, several media outlets reported.

The firm had been seeking a deal to spare it from bankruptcy after more than 70 women accused film producer Harvey Weinstein, its ex-chairman and once one of Hollywood's most influential men, of sexual misconduct including rape. Weinstein denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.

"The Weinstein Company has been engaged in an active sale process in the hopes of preserving assets and jobs," the board said in a statement reported by newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. "Today, those discussions concluded without a signed agreement."

The board had "no choice but to pursue its only viable option to maximize the Company's remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process."

There was no immediate confirmation of the plan on the company's website or Twitter feed.

The firm had been close to inking a deal to sell itself for more than $500 million to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former official in Barack Obama's presidential administration.

But negotiations were thrown into doubt two weeks ago when New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the company and Weinstein over his alleged sexual harassment and misconduct.

Schneiderman wanted any deal to provide adequate compensation to Weinstein's alleged victims, protect employees and not reward executives who the suit alleges knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it.

In a letter to Contreras-Sweet published by entertainment news website, the Board wrote that it lost faith in the deal, which "we must conclude ...would only leave the Company hobbling toward its demise."

No representatives of The Weinstein Company or Contreras-Sweet were immediately available for comment.

The company, which Reuters has reported as having debts of roughly $375 million, was launched in October 2005 and has produced and distributed films including “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook”.

(editing by John Stonestreet)