SoftBank Puts Video Site DramaFever up for Sale Again, say Reports

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DramaFever, the online vide site known for its Korean dramas, is up for sale a year after it was acquired by SoftBank, according to reports.

The same reports also point to Warner Bros and Barry Diller’s IAC as among the leading candidates to buy the site.

Both were previously bidders for the company, when it was sold by founders and institutional backers last year.

The Wall Street Journal adds that boutique investment bank Raine & Co is handling the sale, as it did previously. It explains that SoftBank is keen to hold on to a significant minority stake.

Contacted by Variety, SoftBank replied “We are aware of the reports, but are not able to comment.”

In addition to its own streaming activities, DramaFever provides management systems that are licensed by other video services. It could be used by Warner to launch its own online video services built around individual shows or characters.

Analysts explain that the DramaFever site may have been been losing visitors as it puts more emphasis on its subscription variant. According to comScore it had 1.18 million unique visitors in May, down nearly half from a year ago, though that data excludes some mobile traffic and does not measure viewing from streaming video players such as Roku or Apple TV.

SoftBank, the huge and diverse Japanese investment group, made a couple of splashy moves into entertainment and content last year when it held talks with DreamWorks, bought DramaFever, and paid $250 million for a stake in Legendary Entertainment. Analysts say that new SoftBank president Nikesh Aurora has priorities that rank higher than entertainment.

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