WPP looks set to end its role as an investor in Harvey Weinstein’s The Weinstein Company with nothing as the scandal-hit film company, recently said to be worth $1.3bn, is sold for $500m or less. Much of this is owed already.
WPP invested in Weinstein, which has produced a number of Oscar-winning movies, in 2005 and WPP exec Ivan Maerov was on the board when the scandal over founder Harvey Weinstein’s sexual behaviour, including some alleged rapes, broke.
People will debate whether WPP’s investment could be justified at the time. Its GroupM Entertainment plays a role in financing some TV shows, often in return for airtime which it sells on, although this half a world away from Weinstein’s more glitzy activities. Others will say it was grandstanding on the part of WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.
The advertising firm may also need to explain how much, if anything, it knew of some of Weinstein’s activities.
Weinstein’s other investors included major players Goldman Sachs and Japan’s Softbank.