Tags: DreamWorks | Talks | Acquire | SoftBank

DreamWorks in Talks to Be Acquired by Japan's SoftBank

Sunday, 28 September 2014 11:35 AM

DreamWorks Animation could soon have a new owner in Japan's SoftBank.

Jeffrey Katzenberg is in talks to sell his toon studio to the conglomerate, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks. The deal would value DreamWorks at around $3.4 billion. DreamWorks currently has a market cap of nearly $1.9 billion.

Katzenberg would remain the head of DreamWorks should the deal occur, with the exec signing a five-year contract to remain its CEO. DreamWorks' board met last week to discuss the offer.

SoftBank is said to be offering $32 a share to purchase DreamWorks, a 43 percent premium to the studio's stock price of $22.36 at Friday's Nasdaq close.

DreamWorks, which has released its films through 20th Century Fox, starting with "The Croods," last year, has a mixed record at the box office of late. While "How To Train Your Dragon 2" is a hit, earning $611 million this summer, it missed with "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," taking in just $273 million. "Turbo" also didn't live up to expectations, although the film has since spun off an animated series on Netflix, through which it is expanding aggressively into TV so that it doesn't have to rely as heavily on films as it has in the past.

However, DreamWorks has scored considerably with its fruitful acquisition of AwesomenessTV, a digital network targeting a young online audience — that and its relationship with Netflix likely helped attract the attention of SoftBank, which has a number of major investments in digital platforms.

The company owns significant shares in Alibaba, Sprint, Yahoo and GungHo Online Entertainment, a mobile gamemaker.

DreamWorks has operated as a publicly traded company since 2004.

The potential takeover by SoftBank comes as DreamWorks has spent much of the year in the midst of a reorg of its corporate ranks. In August, it hired Fazal Merchant to replace Lew Coleman as its new chief financial officer. Merchant is a former DirecTV and Barclays Capital executive.

In July, it hired former Disney exec Mark Zoradi to serve as chief operating officer, and upped Ann Daly to president.

DreamWorks declined to comment on the news, saying it doesn't "comment on rumors and speculation."

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news of a possible sale.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg is in talks to sell his toon studio to Japanese conglomerate Softbank at a sharp premium to the stock price, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks.
DreamWorks, Talks, Acquire, SoftBank
Sunday, 28 September 2014 11:35 AM
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