SoftBank looking to acquire DreamWorks Animation, report suggests

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Telecoms giant SoftBank is reportedly in acquisition talks with DreamWorks Animation as CEO Jeffrey Katzenburg continues his search for a buyer.

People with knowledge of the negotiations suggested the deal would be a boon for both companies, allowing DreamWorks Animation to grow its presence in Asia while at the same time enabling the Japanese carrier to offer exclusive movie content to customers of SoftBank-owned Sprint as it battles to draw business away from rivals AT&T and Verizon. SoftBank could also work the content into its operations in Japan, where it’s one of the leading wireless carriers.

Reports suggest the deal consists of an offer by SoftBank to pay DreamWorks Animation $32 a share, $10 more than their value at the close of trading Friday.

The news comes soon after SoftBank abandoned its effort to acquire T-Mobile following opposition from anti-trust regulators, and indicates the Japanese firm could be shifting its attention away from carrier acquisitions in favor of building a stable of content creators, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. SoftBank already owns Finnish gaming heavyweight Supercell, for example, which it bought last year for $1.5 billion.

Perhaps best known for its Shrek and Madagascar movies, DreamWorks Animation was spun off from Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks media company in 2004. More recent releases include Mr. Peabody & Sherman and How to Train Your Dragon 2, with a further 10 features set to hit screens by the end of 2017.

SoftBank’s recent efforts to diversify its business include the creation of a robotics-focused subsidiary. Its work includes Pepper, an android touted by the company for its ability to communicate with humans and respond to their emotions. Pepper is scheduled to go on sale in the US in February for around $1900.

[Source: WSJ, Hollywood Reporter]