DreamWorks Animation, the tiny Hollywood studio behind films such as Shrek, Madagascar, and more recently, How to Train Your Dragon, could provide a unique way for SoftBank to bolster its wireless offerings. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company, and its outspoken billionaire CEO Masayoshi Son, could use content from the animation studio to make Sprint more competitive in the US. SoftBank completed its acquisition of Sprint last year, and has looked for ways to take on AT&T and Verizon.
Having failed to make his case in Washington, Japan’s brashest billionaire is following the time-honored path of looking west, to Hollywood. Masayoshi Son, chief executive of telecom giant SoftBank Corp., is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the Hollywood studio that created the “How to Train Your Dragon” films and animated classics like “Shrek” and “Madagascar,” according to people familiar with the situation. News of the possible deal, which emerged over the weekend, came less than two months after Mr. Son said he had decided against bidding for T-Mobile US Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. cellular operator, and combining it with Sprint Corp., the No. 3 player, which SoftBank acquired for $21.6 billion a year earlier. Despite extensive lobbying in Washington, Mr. Son was unable to overcome skepticism from regulators, who want to preserve four major mobile operators in the U.S. market.