SoftBank has bid $3.4 billion to buy Dreamworks, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Japanese telecom and majority owner of Sprint could be seeking to buy the animation studio. But a Wall Street Journal report suggests a deal between the two could amount to a content distribution partnership or a SoftBank investment.
News of preliminary talks popped up over the weekend. A Nikkei report Monday seemed skeptical a deal could be reached between the companies.
Since SoftBank and Sprint this summer abandoned a potential bid to merge with T-Mobile, Sprint has been focused on competing within the U.S. market. Under the leadership of new CEO Marcelo Claure, the carrier has introduced new aggressive pricing plans and directly taken on competitors like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Dreamworks has had major box office success with the Shrek and Madagascar movie series. But as several reports have pointed out, recent releases have underperformed and the company’s stock tends to rise and fall on the individual successes of its films.
Still, with a major influx of cash from Alibaba’s recent massive IPO, SoftBank is well situated for acquisitions and partnering with a major animation studio could help it compete in the mobile content space.
AT&T earlier this year announced it was investing $500 million into a joint venture with the Chernin Group to “acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services.” The move follows AT&T’s unsuccessful attempt to buy Hulu.
Providers like Verizon and AT&T are consistently putting emphasis on video content as a next huge wave of monetization for mobile networks.
Cisco estimated that mobile video accounted for 53 percent of all mobile traffic by the end of 2013.