Harvey and Bob Weinsteinhave slotted into place a major piece of the financing jigsaw behind theirfledgling company with today's announcement of a $490m private placement ofequity.

Ever since the brothers unveiled plans for The Weinstein Company (TWC) earlierthis year ahead of their split from Miramax, speculation has centred on theprovenance of their financial backing.

Today's announcement means approximately half of TWC's $1bn funding mandate, afigure frequently touted by industry observers that has not been challenged bythe brothers, would appear to be in place. The remainder is expected to comefrom debt financing.

TWC's equity backers now include GLG Partners, Goldman, Sachs & Co, PerryCapital, Quinta Communications, Softbank Corp, WPP, and Vivi Nevo, amongothers.

Goldman Sachs, the global investment bank that has played an integral role inassisting the Weinsteins in their recent financial arrangements, served asadvisors on the transaction along with legal firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton& Garrison.

The $490m placement of equity is more than expected after a Securities andExchange Commission filing earlier this month revealed the Weinsteins expectedto raise $420m in equity funding.

The brothers are currently assembling their board of representatives, whichthus far includes Ziff Brothers Investments chairman Dirk Ziff, QuintaCommunications chairman Tarak Ben Ammar, American Foundation for AIDS Researchboard chairman Mathilde Krim, Goldman Sachs advisory director Andrew Metcalfe,and accountant Richard Koenigsberg.

The Weinsteins also confirmed in a joint statement that they will keep TheWeinstein Company name. "This is an extremely exciting day for us. Twenty-sixyears ago, we founded Miramax and named it after our parents, Miriam and Max,and we want to continue to pay tribute to our parents by naming our new companyafter them, The Weinstein Company.

"We are thrilled with the important relationships we have formed with ourinvestors over the past few months," the statement continued. "We couldn't behappier with the members of the board whom we will be working closely with onan ongoing basis, building and operating The Weinstein Company.

"We have assembled an incredibly talented and dedicated team of executives andhave the utmost confidence in all of them."

"We are very pleased to be a part of this exciting new venture and lookforward to an ongoing relationship with The Weinstein Company," a spokespersonfor Goldman Sachs added.

TWC officially launched on Oct 1 and has wasted little time in putting togethera core team and a burgeoning slate. It will continue to own and operate theDimension Films genre label and handle its own US theatrical marketing anddistribution.

New international chief Glen Basner will preside over an inaugural AFM slatefeaturing John Madden's thriller Killshot; Kevin Smith's Clerks sequelPassion Of The Clerks; and JobyHarold's thriller Awake.

Dimension titles headed for AFM under the Weinstein Company banner are GregMcLean's Wolf Creek follow-up Rogue; Japanese horror remake Pulse; horror title Feast on which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will serve asexecutive producers; Todd Phillip's comedy remake School For Scoundrels; and Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's minihorror anthology title Grind House.

Killshot, Passion Of TheClerks, Awake and School For Scoundrels are all expected to begin production within themonth.

The company is preparing to launch its first theatrical release, MikaelHafstrom's psychological thriller Derailed starring Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen, on Nov 11.

Upcoming releases include The Libertine, starring Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, and John Malkovich on Nov 23,the comedy Transamerica starringFelicity Huffman on Dec 2, and Stephen Frears' drama Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins on Dec 9.

Rounding out the year are Sundance hit The Matador starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear on Dec 23, andthe CGI romp Hoodwinked! voicedby Glenn Close, Jim Belushi, Anne Hathaway on Dec 25.