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DreamWorks Animation in Sale Talks With Japan’s SoftBank (THR)
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation in a deal that would value the company at $3.4 billion, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. NYT SoftBank reportedly offered $32 a share for the boutique studio DreamWorks Animation, a 45 percent premium over the share price. That would value it at $3.4 billion. A DreamWorks Animation spokeswoman, Allison Rawlings, on Saturday night said, “We don’t comment on rumor and speculation.” Re/code / Reuters An acquisition of DreamWorks by SoftBank would make the Hollywood studio that created Shrek part of a the communications and media company that, under founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, has shown a willingness to take big bets on combining seemingly unrelated businesses. Two weeks ago, SoftBank booked a $4.6 billion gain on the share listing of Alibaba Group in New York. SoftBank retains a 32 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce company, making it Alibaba’s biggest shareholder. Deadline Hollywood DreamWorks’ balance sheet had weakened in Q2 with $400 million in debt and $32 million in cash vs. Q2 2011, when it had no debt and $116 million in cash. DreamWorks also disclosed in July that its next two films – The Penguins Of Madagascar and Home – were costing them approximately $10 million more than planned: $135 million not including incentive-based compensation. Variety 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. DreamWorks Animation has operated as a publicly traded company since 2004.