Softbank invests $250M in Legendary Entertainment

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank Corp. is investing $250 million in media company Legendary Entertainment, known for films such as "The Dark Knight" and "Man of Steel."

The announcement from the companies Thursday comes days after media reports that SoftBank was in acquisition talks with DreamWorks Animation. But SoftBank and DreamWorks never confirmed the talks, which reportedly have cooled off.

SoftBank will form a joint venture with Legendary that will use Legendary's intellectual property to produce TV and digital products as well as for licensing and merchandising, with a focus on China and India.

Softbank said it wants to work with Legendary to bring its film franchises and other products to an "even larger global audience."

The investment is expected to close by the end of the month.

Last year, Legendary signed a five-year marketing and distribution deal with Universal Pictures. It had previously been with Warner Bros.

SoftBank has been building stakes in different industries, including media. It bought 78 percent of Sprint for $21.6 billion last year. And it has a 32 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, which just had a blockbuster initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., which had risen on the reported SoftBank talks on Monday, retreated $1.96, or 7.4 percent, to $24.79 in Thursday afternoon trading.