DreamWorks Animation is in negotiations to sell to Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation Softbank. It is reported that the DreamWorks board met in an emergency session on Thursday to discuss the proposed sale.
If the deal goes through, DreamWorks Animation founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg would have to sign a five year contract to stay with the company. Speculation is the company could be worth as much as 3.4 billion, with SoftBank offering to purchase it at $32 a share.
When reached for a comment, a DreamWorks spokesperson only had this to say.
“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation.”
It is no secret that Katzenberg has wanted to sell the company. On Wall Street, the publically traded company has struggled. In the second quarter report released in July, the company performed lower than expected, speculating a sale.
In February, the studio took a $13.5 million bath for the snail adventure “Turbo.” The studio had promised to keep the budgets of their features at or under $120 million, but rising production costs for the upcoming films “Penguins of Madagascar” and “Home” will reportedly cost $135 million each.
Recently, the stock market has been unkind to DreamWorks. Its latest animated movie, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” only grossed $273 million worldwide. However, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” fared much better and grossed $610 million worldwide.
In recent years, Katzenberg has sought to diversify DreamWorks Animation branch of the company by expanding into television, digital media and consumer products to shield itself from the changing fortunes of the film industry, which Katzenberg has stated is no longer a growth business. It acquired AwesomenessTV, struck a deal with Netflix to produce original series and has built out its consumer products division.