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  • Tue, Aug. 23, 10:57 AM
    • Keeping up a push by Chinese firms into Hollywood, China's richest man says he has two billion-dollar deals in the pipeline and an eye beyond that to taking over one of the industry's Big Six.
    • Wang Jianlin, of Dalian Wanda Group, tells Reuters that after acquiring a pair of non-production companies, he'd like to take over one of the major studios: Twentieth Century Fox (FOX, FOXA), Warner Brothers (NYSE:TWX), Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Universal Pictures (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Columbia (NYSE:SNE), along with Paramount (VIA, VIAB), for which Wanda was said to be nearing a $4B purchase of 49%.
    • Paramount is certainly in play, with flagging performance and a parent (Viacom) struggling with that and its TV business. But that's not all Wang has his eye on: "We are interested not only in Paramount, but all of them. If one of the Big Six would be willing to be sold to us, we would be interested."
    • That's a "necessary step" to building a "real movie empire," Wang says. "Only the six are real global film companies, while the rest are not."
    • Wanda bought control of production company Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B this year and wants to triple revenue from its cultural division to 150B yuan ($22.6B) by 2020.
    • The conglomerate also controls theater firm AMC Entertainment, and with the completion of acquisitions of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group and Carmike Cinemas, would control 15% of global box office revenues.
    | Tue, Aug. 23, 10:57 AM | 36 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 28, 4:59 AM
    • Fresh off a $70M investment from Twitter, SoundCloud may be putting itself up for sale for as much as $1B.
    • Sony (NYSE:SNE) has agreed to sell a portion of its battery business to Murata Manufacturing (OTCPK:MRAAY).
    • Fosun Pharmaceutical (OTCPK:FOSUY) is acquiring Indian drugmaker Gland Pharma - backed by KKR - for about $1.4B.
    • Asciano's (OTCPK:AIOYY) $6.8B buyout by a global consortium led by Brookfield Infrastructure (NYSE:BIP) has cleared final antitrust hurdles in Australia, marking the country's biggest foreign takeover in five years.
    | Thu, Jul. 28, 4:59 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Jun. 27, 8:15 AM
    • EU antitrust authorities will rule by Aug. 1 whether to allow Sony (NYSE:SNE) to buy out Michael Jackson estate's stake in its music publishing joint venture, a move which rivals say gives the company too much power.
    • The European Commission can clear the deal unconditionally, demand concessions or open a five-month long investigation if it has serious competition concerns.
    | Mon, Jun. 27, 8:15 AM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 4, 2015, 7:10 AM
    • Following a series of negotiations, Sony (NYSE:SNE) has announced that it's buying Toshiba's (OTCPK:TOSYY) image sensor business for 19B yen, or about $155M.
    • Toshiba's fabrication plant, equipment, and employees will transfer to Sony's new wholly-owned subsidiary, the Sony Semiconductor Corporation, within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.
    • Previously: Toshiba confirms sale of sensor business to Sony (Oct. 28 2015)
    | Dec. 4, 2015, 7:10 AM | 2 Comments
  • Oct. 28, 2015, 3:21 AM
    • Confirming earlier rumors, Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSYY) has announced the sale of its image sensor business to Sony (NYSE:SNE) as it tries to recover from a $1.3B accounting scandal.
    • Sony recently said it would spin off its image sensor business into a new wholly-owned subsidiary called Sony Semiconductor Corporation, and Toshiba's operations are set to come under that umbrella.
    • No financial details of the deal have been disclosed.
    • Previously: Sony reportedly buying Toshiba's image sensor unit for $165M (Oct. 24 2015)
    | Oct. 28, 2015, 3:21 AM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 24, 2015, 5:26 PM
    • Bloomberg and Reuters report Sony (NYSE:SNE) is near a deal to buy Toshiba's (OTCPK:TOSBF) image sensor unit for ¥20B ($165M). A deal could be announced in the coming week.
    • The reports follow news Sony is spinning off its image sensor unit, which is a major iPhone/iPad supplier. Techno Systems Research estimates Sony had 40% of the 2014 image sensor market, up from 35% in 2013. OmniVision had 16%, and Samsung 15%. Both the mobile and automotive markets have lifted broader image sensor demand, while consumer interest in high-quality front and rear smartphone cameras has propped up ASPs.
    • As for Toshiba, the deal would continue a string of asset sales in the wake of the company's recent accounting scandal. Toshiba recently sold a stake in medical equipment maker Topcon for ¥49B ($404M), and a 30% stake in a building for ¥37B ($305M). Meanwhile, job cuts are planned for underperforming units.
    | Oct. 24, 2015, 5:26 PM
  • Sep. 5, 2015, 12:02 PM
    • News in the automobile industry this week continues to indicate seismic changes are coming.
    • The Silicon Valley factor: A deeper commitment by Apple and Google in the automobile sector is widely anticipated, although an all-in bet on the manufacturing side is still considered a reach. Key acquisitions, partnerships, or joint ventures in software, self-driving technology, and infotainment systems could sort out the winners from the losers. German players BMW (OTCPK:BAMXY) and Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF) could be in the mix.
    • The Sergio factor: Though the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) CEO continues to make some bold projections on the powerful merger synergies a tie-up with General Motors (NYSE:GM) would create, his math works for other combinations within the industry as well. Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY), Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM), Honda (NYSE:HMC), and Volvo (OTCPK:GELYF) are each struggling in various markets.
    • The Tesla factor: Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has engaged in a war of words with Toyota (NYSE:TM) in the electric vs. hydrogen debate. The EV automaker is also in a race with General Motors and Nissan over developing a mass-market EV with the driving range and sticker price to sell at scale. There's also been a tug-of-war over employees with Silicon Valley counterpart Apple. With so many enemies, some analysts think Tesla needs more friends in the space. Who has the ~$40B-$50B to buy out Elon or the moxie to strike a strategic partnership?
    • Looking for a wildcard? Sony (NYSE:SNE) CEO Kazuo Hirai told the Financial Times this week that his company would absolutely partner with an automobile company if a deal makes sense.
    | Sep. 5, 2015, 12:02 PM | 97 Comments
  • Apr. 29, 2015, 10:33 PM
    • Confirming some industry speculation, Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) was close to buying Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) when the two entered a stock-swap deal in February -- and it fizzled in part because of Starz' valuation, The Wrap's Jon Erlichman writes.
    • John Malone (Starz' biggest shareholder) got a board seat at Lions Gate and Starz got 3.43% of LGF in trade for 4.5% of Starz. But Malone reportedly wanted to make a deal, and Starz had talked with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Fox (FOXA, FOX) last fall, Erlichman says.
    • Starz reports earnings tomorrow and any buyer will have to pony up more now than last September: Shares are up more than 30% from their lowest point then, to $38.60 today. If Starz' valuation was a problem for LGF in February, it's bigger now.
    • But Starz CEO Chris Albrecht describes the two companies as "kissing cousins" and a consolidating industry may force Malone's hand somewhat.
    • Previously: Wolff: Get ready for 'M&A mania' with media consolidation (Apr. 09 2015)
    • Previously: Maffei: More might come from Malone-Lions Gate relationship (Mar. 09 2015)
    | Apr. 29, 2015, 10:33 PM | 2 Comments
  • Mar. 27, 2015, 10:15 AM
    • Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) has agreed to acquire Dutch premium TV group Film1 from Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), John Malone's European cable operator.
    • The deal means Sony will own and operate five premium movie channels as well as its over-the-top "Film1 Go" digital distribution service.
    • Liberty had acquired Film1 in buying Dutch cable operator Ziggo, and Ziggo will continue to carry the five Film1 channels, which feature films from Hollywood studios as well as independent productions.
    • The move is another in a series of recent Sony transactions to acquire European channels, including deals in the UK and Hungary.
    | Mar. 27, 2015, 10:15 AM | 1 Comment
  • Feb. 2, 2015, 6:16 PM
    • Sony (NYSE:SNE) has sold its Online Entertainment game studio/publishing arm, responsible for creating EverQuest and several other MMOs, to investment firm Columbus Nova for an undisclosed sum. The unit will now operate as an independent game studio under the Daybreak name.
    • The unit saw major layoffs in 2013. The sale is the latest in a string of divestitures and restructuring moves by Sony.
    | Feb. 2, 2015, 6:16 PM | 1 Comment
  • Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
    • Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
    • Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
    • Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
    | Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 23, 2014, 4:35 PM
    • Leaked e-mails indicate Sony (NYSE:SNE) is exploring the sale of its music publishing ops, Dow Jones reports. The unit is believed to be worth $1.5B-$2B.
    • Sony has already done plenty of streamlining (I, II) this year.
    | Dec. 23, 2014, 4:35 PM
  • Dec. 17, 2014, 3:23 AM
    • Newly leaked emails reveal that Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) execs tried to meet with Sony (NYSE:SNE) CEO Kazuo Hirai last summer to discuss a possible merger or acquisition.
    • Hirai eventually declined a meeting although he expressed interest in possible cooperation on operational matters, Reuters reports.
    • Meanwhile, Sony is facing an ugly dilemma of whether to cave into hacker demands and pull The Interview from theaters, or to forge ahead, risking possible violence and potential legal liability. It has told theaters they can decide.
    | Dec. 17, 2014, 3:23 AM
  • Jun. 26, 2014, 8:43 AM
    • Sony Pictures Television (SNE) has announced it will buy the CSC Media Group, after a deal was reached between the former and majority shareholder P-E firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. The new acquisition will add 16 new channels to Sony's U.K. portfolio.
    | Jun. 26, 2014, 8:43 AM
  • Mar. 26, 2014, 1:10 PM
    • Google (GOOG -0.4%) appears to have "seriously sniffed around" Oculus VR before Facebook (FB -3.8%) closed a deal to buy the VR headset maker, Kara Swisher reports. Meanwhile, The Verge reports "several big companies" had made overtures to Oculus (no names are given), and that the startup's VC investors "offered the company more money to go it alone."
    • Over time, Oculus' Rift headset, which Facebook hopes will be used for many non-gaming applications, could compete against Google Glass. For now, they address different markets: Rift is much heavier/bulkier than Glass, but also provides an immersive VR/3D gaming experience.
    • During a CC, Mark Zuckerberg asserted the Rift is "way ahead" of rival products such as Sony's (SNE -0.4%) Morpheus (due in 2015), and that Oculus' talent is unmatched. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe argues Facebook's resources will help make the Rift cheaper (the dev. kit currently goes for $350).
    • Stacy Higginbotham remains an Oculus skeptic: While calling a demo she tried out "immersive and neat," she adds it was "nothing like real life." Brad Stone thinks "there's nothing social" about headsets that "[blot] out absolutely everything around you."
    • Jim Edwards, defending the deal, calls the Rift the kind of product for which words can't describe "how incredible the experience of wearing one is." VC Chris Dixon, who backed Oculus, makes a similar case.
    • Some game developers are unhappy about the deal. As are some of the Kickstarter backers who poured $2.4M into Oculus, and only have t-shirts and dev. kits to show for it. Facebook has joined several other Internet momentum stocks in selling off in the wake of King's disappointing IPO.
    • Previous: Facebook buying Oculus, more details
    | Mar. 26, 2014, 1:10 PM | 23 Comments
  • Feb. 13, 2014, 12:48 PM
    • The media industry is busy evaluating the impact of a Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger even if the DOJ clips the size of the deal a bit.
    • A key word for content providers today is leverage. A larger Comcast (CMCSA), (broadband and Pay-TV) would give it additional clout in negotiating retransmission contracts with networks (CBS, FOXA, AMCX, DISCA, SNI) and studios (DIS, TWX, LGF, SNE, DWA, VIAB) for home video sales.
    • The relationship between streaming firms and Comcast could get more complicated. Though studios rake in money from Netflix, if Comcast ever decides to charge its massive base of broadband subscribers on a usage basis - both Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu are in harm's way.
    • Companies with future ambitions in the online TV area (think Sony) might see additional pressures from a larger Comcast. In theory, the media giant could launch a similar national service.
    • Related ETFs: PBS
    | Feb. 13, 2014, 12:48 PM | 5 Comments