Softbank in talks to buy Dreamworks Animation

Japanese telecom carrier said to want animated movie producer

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Japan's Softbank is in talks to acquire Dreamworks Animation, The Hollywood Reporter said late Saturday citing a source. The Wall Street Journal later reported the same news citing "people familiar with the matter."

Softbank is best known as operator of Japan's scrappy, third-ranked cellular carrier. In 2013, it bought the number three U.S. wireless carrier, Sprint, and earlier this year made a play for fourth-ranked T-Mobile USA, but has given up on that acquisition.

Following a $32 per share offer from Softbank, the Dreamworks Animation board held an emergency meeting on Thursday, said The Hollywood Reporter. It said Nikesh Arora, a former Google executive and now head of the recently formed Softbank Internet and Media, met with Dreamworks on the offer.

Dreamworks Animation is well known for its often humorous computer animated feature films. Some of the company's biggest hits have included "Shrek," "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Kung Fu Panda."

The company's business relies on most of its movies attaining a hit status, putting great stress on the studio to keep performing.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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