The Japanese conglomerate has found its Hollywood partner, investing a quarter of a billion dollars to form a joint venture with Legendary to maximise content via OTT platforms with particular emphasis on China and India.
SoftBank’s investment is expected to close in October subject to conditions and comes hot on the heels of an alleged courtship of DreamWorks Animation.
Vice-chairman of Softbank and CEO of Softbank Internet And Media Nikesh Arora will be appointed to Legendary’s board of directors as part of the transaction.
The deal gives Legendary the ability to leverage its IP rights, including television, digital, licensing, merchandising – “and other ancillary lines” according to a press release – across the OTT service. Among its many holdings, Softbank owns telecoms company Sprint.
“Our goal at SIMI is to leverage SoftBank’s international platform and network of internet and media partners to accelerate content creators’ digital strategies and extend their global reach,” said Arora.
“Legendary is already a content powerhouse and we are very excited to make this investment and help them bring their incredibly successful film franchises and other exciting new media content to an even larger global audience.”
Legendary chairman and CEO Thomas Tull (pictured) said, “Masayoshi Son has built SoftBank into one of the world’s most respected companies. With the arrival of Nikesh and the launch of SIMI, they have a great opportunity to extend their reach into media and entertainment. We are excited to be one of SIMI’s first partners and look forward to working together to deliver the next phase of Legendary’s growth.”
The Raine Group acted as financial advisor and Morrison & Foerster acted as legal advisor to SoftBank.
COO and general counsel Martin Willhite represented Legendary and O’Melveny & Myers acted as outside legal advisor.