Thomas J. Barrack Jr. , the wealthy private-equity investor who is in negotiations to buy the Weinstein Co., has spent most of his career trading real estate. But bailing out troubled celebrities has long been a favorite hobby.
.. took control of Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch in 2008.
.. Mr. Barrack helped out Annie Leibovitz, a photographer famous for her work with musicians and movie stars, a few years ago by buying out her millions of dollars of debt. He then helped her raise the money back by promoting exhibits of her work and sales of limited-edition prints.
.. The Weinstein Co. deal appears to be a variant of the Barrack playbook of providing much-needed capital to companies or people in exchange for greater control over their holdings.
.. Financier Steven Mnuchin, now the Treasury secretary, was a Hollywood player who co-financed movies through his RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC venture.
.. Mr. Mnuchin’s executive-producer credit has appeared on recent movies like “The Accountant” and “Wonder Woman.”
.. President Donald Trump.
The real-estate investors got to know each other when Mr. Barrack was working for Texas billionaire investor Robert Bass and helped his boss sell the iconic Plaza Hotel to Mr. Trump for around $400 million in 1988... Mr. Barrack was a major fundraiser for Mr. Trump and served as chairman of the president’s inauguration committee... Mr. Barrack founded Colony Capital in 1991 to buy defaulted real-estate loans during the savings-and-loan crisis. He built his fortune over the years by acquiring property in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.