Hollywood Merger Frenzy Turns to Bidding for Billion-Dollar Production Companies

·1 min read

After swallowing most of Hollywood’s major entertainment companies, cash-rich financiers have now turned to the next tier of premium content companies: Indie studio A24, top-shelf production company Imagine Entertainment and star-driven boutiques like Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and LeBron James’ SpringHill are among the targets of interest. The sale prices for these companies — or at least the prices floated in the media — have stunned many in Hollywood with billion-dollar valuations and multiple bidders in the mix. A Bloomberg report said Nike and others were looking at James’ SpringHill at a $750 million valuation; Hello Sunshine is in the marketplace seeking to bag $1 billion; while A24 has reportedly been in discussions with potential buyers for $2.5 billion to $3 billion seeking to own the rights to art-house hits like “Uncut Gems” and “Minari.” It’s no surprise, then, that one of the most respected production companies in the industry — Imagine Entertainment, founded by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard — is also in discussions with buyers, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap. Meetings have taken place with at least one Middle Eastern petrostate sovereign fund in addition to private equity buyers. The Raine Group owns 51% of the company...

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