SoftBank to Buy DramaFever

/ Oct 14, 2014


Japan-based SoftBank Group has acquired DramaFever, the video-streaming startup that specializes in bringing international TV shows and movies to US audiences.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the news comes after multiple reports (including ours) indicating that DramaFever was looking to sell. Other companies the NY-based streaming startup held conversations with include AMC, IAC, and RTL Group. Those deals were said to value DramaFever anywhere from $80 million to $140 million.

“In five short years since going live, DramaFever has built an impressive internet-based streaming video business operating at scale,” said Nikesh Arora, vice chairman of SoftBank Corp and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc., in a statement. “[DramaFever co-founders and co-CEOs] Seung Bak and Suk Park have a proven business model in a dynamic industry, and we look forward to helping them bring their highly popular video content to an even larger global audience.”

Founded in 2009, DramaFever offers content — on both an AVOD and SVOD basis — from more than 70 broadcasters and studios throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. According to the company, its output deals with content providers means that its library of more than 700 shows and 15,000 episodes are usually available on either a first-run, same-day, or next-day basis.

DramaFever also syndicates some of its programming to SVOD platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Overall, the streaming company claims a monthly audience of more than 20 million unique viewers.

This is the second entertainment-oriented acquisition by SoftBank in recent weeks, following its deal to invest in production studio Legendary Entertainment (“The Dark Knight,” Crackle’s “Dead Rising: Watchtower”) for $250 million. The telecommunications giant, which owns Sprint, was also recently in discussions to acquire DreamWorks Animation, but those talks have since cooled.

Morrison & Foerster LLP acted as legal advisor for SoftBank Group, while The Raine Group LLC acted as financial adviser, and Gunderson Dettmer served as legal adviser, to DramaFever.

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