Imagine Entertainment Piques Investor Interest Amid Media M&A Boom

Imagine Entertainment, the manufacturing banner run by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, has been the topic of renewed acquisition talks in current weeks, a number of sources advised Selection.

Traders and potential consumers embody an undisclosed sovereign wealth fund from the Center East, which has been quietly exploring American media investments of late. Additionally kicking the tires on Think about are worldwide banks and a home personal fairness agency, in accordance with two people accustomed to the discussions. The present valuation being floated is between $800 million and $825 million, sources added.

An Think about Leisure spokesperson declined to touch upon the matter.

The curiosity in Think about comes at a time when the media sector is rife with M&A and consolidation exercise. Along with top-level transactions just like the pending mixture of WarnerMedia and Discovery and Amazon’s almost $9 billion buy of MGM, firms like Reese Witherspoon’s Hi there Sunshine and LeBron James’ Spring Hill Leisure have reportedly been eyed for buy. Final week, Selection reported that indie movie and TV studio A24 explored a merger or outright sale to the tune of greater than $2.5 billion prior to now 18 months.

Think about’s valuation appears low towards these lofty numbers for an organization with a virtually 40-year observe document of manufacturing. A supply near the state of affairs described Think about’s valuation as “sensible” somewhat than “off the charts” just like the floated value tags for Hi there Sunshine and Spring Hill.

In 2016, the company received a $100 million capital influx from Raine Group, which allowed Think about to increase significantly with new divisions for youths and household content material, documentaries and non-fiction, worldwide and dwell theater initiatives. Whereas Think about doesn’t have an in-house theatrical distribution mechanism, the corporate does boast a constant library income stream because of a few of its legacy offers, one other supply added.

Along with buying the prolific New York-based indie store Jax Media (“Emily in Paris,” “Russian Doll,” “Youthful,” “Broad Metropolis,” “The Conners”) and a majority stake in Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, Think about has proven notable quantity in its documentaries division over the previous two years.

Run by Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein, the unit has almost 20 unscripted feature-length and sequence initiatives launched or in manufacturing, virtually all with distributors connected. Titles embody the Howard-directed Nationwide Geographic launch “Rebuilding Paradise,” Sony Footage Classics’ Julia Little one doc “Julia,” and Apple’s “Who Are You, Charlie Brown?” and “Dads.” They’ll quickly launch the quarantine sports activities doc “The Day Sports activities Stood Nonetheless” with HBO Max, and the Cindy Adams New York media story “Gossip” at Showtime.

On the scripted facet, the corporate has Howard dedicated to his first ever animated movie, “The Shrinking of Treehorn,” at Paramount. Grazer can be shepherding a sequel sequence primarily based on the beloved movie “Willow” at Disney Plus and the Andrew Garfield Oscar hopeful “tick, tick … Growth!” from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Netflix.

Rounding out the Think about portfolio is a branded content material division, a extra widespread unit within the Hollywood ecosystem as streaming platforms promise subscribers ad-free content material. Final summer season, the unit brokered a hefty co-financing deal for a slate of movie and streaming initiatives with Procter & Gamble. The primary challenge is “Mars 2080,” a future-set function that may observe a household’s commute from Earth to the crimson planet and the adjustment to their new habitat.

The sale of Think about would mark a sea-change for Hollywood. Grazer and Howard have been producing companions for almost 40 years. The pair have lengthy maintained their independence, at the same time as they partnered with main studios for movie and TV initiatives. Think about doesn’t personal most of its productions outright, however has ongoing participation in such notable movies as “A Stunning Thoughts,” “Backdraft,” “Apollo 13,” “8 Mile” and “Mulholland Drive,” and TV sequence together with “24,” “Friday Evening Lights,” “Arrested Growth” and “Empire.” | Think about Leisure Piques Investor Curiosity Amid Media M&A Growth


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