First it was Softbank looking to acquire DreamWorks Animation; now it’s been reported that talks are well underway for the animation powerhouse to merge with toy and media megacompany Hasbro.
The talks are described as “deeply engaged” by Deadline.com, which was the first to report the merger talks. The site also reported talks proceeding on a major joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and Hearst Publishing that would see the latter company buy a 25 percent stake in DreamWorks’ AwesomenessTV internet video outlet.
The merged company would be called DreamWorks-Hasbro, and both companies have agreed to keep on Jeffrey Katzenberg as the chairman of the new company.
Hasbro has been eyeing becoming a global leader in the family entertainment field for years, most visibly through the Transformers property and its 40 percent stake in the Discovery Family channel, which until last month was known as The Hub.
The deal would be a radical change for DreamWorks Animation, which has taken a lot of heat from Wall Street despite successes such as How to Train Your Dragon 2 for underperforming features such as Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
The Hearst deal would see it invest $81.25 million in the joint venture, with $56 million going to DreamWorks directly and the rest used as an investment in AwesomenessTV. The deal also would see the launch of three new channels, possibly including a new contribution from DreamWorks Animation: one bundling Awesomeness TV content, one targeting moms and a third on children’s sports.
News of the merger deal was good for DreamWorks Animation’s stock, with share prices rising 16 percent. Hasbro shares, meanwhile, were down about 5 percent amid fears the company might be overpaying for its stake in the deal.