The Japanese telecommunications and investment conglom is said to be reconsidering an outright purchase of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s toon studio and may now be more interested in brokering a content partnership instead, according to a report first published by the Wall Street Journal, citing individuals familiar with the talks.
Negotiations around a sale could still start up again, sources said.
The acquisition by SoftBank would have valued DreamWorks Animation at around $3.2 billion. One main attraction was DWA’s distribution deal with Netflix, and its ownership of AwesomenessTV, an entertainment network that’s popular with a younger audience — a prime demo for SoftBank’s Sprint, which it owns.
It’s been a decade since DreamWorks Animation became a publicly traded company, and details of a sale boosted DWA’s stock by 26% on Monday, to $28.18, a gain of $5.82. Shares lost $2.38 after news emerged that a sale may not happen, during after-hours trading.
DreamWorks Animation has not publicly discussed the deal.
While a DWA source told Variety that the company last week held a board meeting to discuss the Japanese offer, SoftBank also has kept quiet, saying it was company policy not to discuss rumors.