Imagine Entertainment in Talks to Sell Stake to U.Okay.’s Centricus « CmaTrends

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Imagine Entertainment is in negotiations to promote a majority stake within the manufacturing banner headed by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to London-based funding agency Centricus Asset Management Ltd.

The talks had been first reported by the The Wall Street Journal. The negotiations are accelerating however a supply near the scenario cautions there’s nonetheless no certainty {that a} deal will come to fruition. The discussions below method with Centricus are stated to worth Imagine Entertainment, considered one of Hollywood’s largest unbiased content material producers, at about $600 million to $700 million. The firm has been within the hunt for a capital infusion by way of an fairness sale for some months.

Centricus has $35 billion in belongings below administration and is thought for investing in monetary providers, expertise, infrastructure, media and sports activities companies. The firm was co-founded in 2016 by Nizar Al-Bassam and Dalinc Ariburnu. Josh Purvis serves as CEO and COO.

Imagine Entertainment declined to remark. Centricus couldn’t instantly be reached on Saturday. Investment agency Raine Group, which owns 51% of Imagine after investing $100 million within the agency beginning in 2016, is anticipated to retain a small piece of the corporate even when a cope with Centricus is accomplished.

Imagine had an extended courtship final 12 months with Candle Media, the Blackstone-backed firm headed by Disney alums Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs that’s within the hunt for manufacturing banners reminiscent of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and the bustling youngsters’s programming producer Moonbug Entertainment.

Founded in 1986 by Howard and Grazer, “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “Arrested Development” producer Imagine Entertainment has been up on the market for some time at a time when main gamers within the media business need to purchase as a lot content material as potential, whether or not or not it’s to draw advert consumers or subscribers to streamers. Grazer and Howard are understood to be planning to stay on the helm of Imagine, which could possibly be one purpose why a monetary purchaser reminiscent of Centricus can be engaging to the pair who’ve maintained considered one of Hollywood’s longest-running enterprise partnerships.

Imagine Entertainment consists of Imagine Features, Imagine Television Studios, Imagine Documentaries, Imagine Kids+Family, Imagine Brands, together with stakes in Jax Media and Jigsaw Productions. Howard and Grazer are government chairmen of the corporate.

The firm is within the midst of main structural adjustments that might additionally pushed by a pending transaction. Howard and Grazer named Jax Media’s Tony Hernandez and Lilly Burns co-presidents of Imagine, giving them full artistic management of scripted movie and tv. They will proceed to function Jax along with creating and producing at Imagine. Their earlier hits embrace the just-renewed “Emily in Paris” at Netflix, HBO Max’s “Search Party,” and the awards participant “Russian Doll.”

Run by Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein, the Imagine’s documentary unit has almost 20 unscripted feature-length and collection initiatives launched or in manufacturing, virtually all with distributors hooked up. Titles embrace the Howard-directed National Geographic launch “Rebuilding Paradise,” Sony Pictures Classics’ Julia Child doc “Julia,” and Apple’s “Who Are You, Charlie Brown?” and “Dads.”

Other notable latest titles produced by Imagine Entertainment embrace Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “tick, tick, …Boom!,” Howard’s upcoming “Thirteen Lives,” Netflix’s “Crime Scene: Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel,” Nat Geo’s “Genius: Aretha,” Hulu’s “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” and Apple TV Plus’s “Swagger,” amongst many others.

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. Imagine doesn’t personal most of its productions outright, however has ongoing participation in such notable movies as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Backdraft,” “Apollo 13,” “8 Mile” and “Mulholland Drive,” and TV collection together with “24,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Arrested Development” and “Empire.”

(Pictured: Ron Howard and Brian Grazer) 

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