Matthew Harrigan of Wunderlich Securities wondered aloud in a note to clients if Lions Gate might be next on the auction block. Smaller than some of the major Hollywood studios, Lions Gate’s size could be appealing as well as its broad range of films, from “The Hunger Games” adventure film series to the “Saw” horror franchise.
“Overall, the [DreamWorks] news reinforces perceptions of [Lions Gate’s] franchise value,” Harrigan wrote. He says Lions Gate shares could be worth $44 to $67 apiece in a merger. Shares were up nearly 4% to $32.38 in recent action.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Another independent commentator on online issues, Yi Fanghan, said entertainment industry people can expect Alibaba to move to buy other film companies, either by buying stakes or buying them outright, and also to try and produce its own movies.
“Alibaba will start to create content or ideas for films from grassroots people and connect with Internet finance. It will be good for them to produce films, which reflect Internet culture,” Yi said, quoted on sootoo, a social media and news website about online matters.
This summer, Ma spelled out the importance of entertainment in Alibaba’s future strategy when he spent $192 million on a 50 percent stake in Chinese soccer club Guangzhou Evergrande despite happily confessing to knowing nothing about football.
“We’re not investing in [soccer], we’re investing in entertainment,” Ma said at the time. “Alibaba’s future strategies are health and entertainment.”
In the biggest push to build its own entertainment business, Alibaba in June bought 60 percent of ChinaVision Media Group in Hong Kong for $804 million and renamed the company Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. It then poached Zhang Qiang, second in command at China Film Group, to run the new production studio.
Alibaba Film Group plans to invest in eight to 10 films every year, three to five TV dramas and the same number of web-only dramas. The group’s board includes action star Jet Li, who is close to Ma, the former English teacher who founded Alibaba in 1999 and remains its chairman.
Alibaba Film Group has lined up a slate of films with In the Mood for Love director Wong Kar-wai and also has an agreement with Taiwanese director Giddens Ko.
And the company is entitled to 30 percent of the investment return from Stephen Chow‘s blockbuster Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.
It recently discovered accounting irregularities at the film unit, which have cast a shadow over its entertainment industry ambitions, but they are not seen as a long-term impediment to major expansion, more a reminder to the company to make sure it does its due diligence.
Alibaba has also set up a film investment fund called Yuebao, which is similar to crowdfunding but different enough not to fall foul of Chinese regulations.
Advances in Internet technology and the coming of age of various forms of technology are transforming the traditional channels of promotion and distribution in the country and reforming such upstream sectors as financing and production, all of which put Alibaba in a good position to expand into entertainment, say observers.
In April, Alibaba bought a stake of nearly 20 percent in leading Chinese online video company Youku Tudou.
In July, it signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Lionsgate to offer its titles in China, including Divergent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and such TV shows as Mad Men, Weeds and The Royals.
Alibaba’s massive IPO will give a major boost to its plans to expand into the film business, with the Chinese e-commerce giant expected to focus on a move into Hollywood as part of its growth strategy.
Analysts say once the company has finished the work of launching the world’s biggest stock market listing, the industry can expect a major push into movies. Company founder Jack Ma, a huge fan of Forrest Gump, has made it clear he sees a future for Alibaba in entertainment.
“Alibaba has made some investments already in the entertainment industry, including [the acquisition of] a stake in Youku Tudou,” independent e-commerce analyst Li Chengdong tells The Hollywood Reporter. “After the IPO, Alibaba will be so deep-pocketed that it is able to lay out the whole industry chain and make forays into all sorts of businesses.”
Li predicts that Alibaba will put more emphasis on developing good content, using its vast capital to buy intellectual property from Hollywood, as well as make more high-quality domestic movies.
“With sufficient money at hand, everything is possible for Alibaba. It is currently very focused on entertainment as it needs to be somewhat entertainment-orientated to grab public attention,” says Li. “My guess is Alibaba will bring more and more Hollywood stars to China to attend its events, make films and appear in commercials.”
This could also involve a focus on co-productions with Hollywood studios. One of Alibaba’s biggest investors, Japan’s SoftBank, is reportedly already talking to DreamWorks and other studios.
The company has certainly been active in the entertainment business as part of a $5 billion spending spree ahead of the listing.
The Chinese entertainment market is attractive to a company like Alibaba, which has huge penetration through its e-commerce units. China’s box office is on track for $5 billion this year, by some estimates, still growing strongly.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. -- already the most acquisitive Chinese company this year -- is about to be armed with another $8 billion for deals as it seeks to transform itself from an e-commerce site into an Internet behemoth.
Purchases could span mobile applications such as Snapchat Inc., an Internet-television provider like Roku Inc., smaller content studios such as Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) and even cloud-software companies such as Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM), according to CM Research. A case can also be made for acquiring Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), which owns a stake in Alibaba, though other transactions are more likely, said Yahoo shareholder Ironfire Capital LLC.
California will offer $330 million in annual tax credits starting next year, more than tripling the state’s incentives to retain film and television production.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the measure in Hollywood today to boost tax incentives from $100 million. The measure makes California’s incentives among the highest in the U.S., second only to New York’s, and allows productions with budgets greater than $75 million to apply for the credits. They were ineligible under the old rules.
“Hopefully we will create thousands and tens of thousands of jobs,” Brown, a 76-year-old Democrat, said at the event. “That’s what we’re investing in. Yes, it’s taxpayers’ money, but it’s taxpayers’ money to build the jobs of the future.”
The film industry employed 162,000 people in Los Angeles County in 2011, the county Economic Development Corp. said in a 2012 report, accounting for about 5 percent of jobs in the most-populous U.S. county. The region’s signature industry has been under threat from other states luring productions with tax write-offs.
California’s current film tax credit ranks fifth in the nation in annual size, behind New York ($420 million), Louisiana ($236 million), Georgia ($140 million), and Florida ($131 million), according to a legislative analysis.
Launching in the first quarter of 2015 with over 400 hours of fan-fueled original programming, POP will provide a multi-platform destination that creates content around the things popping in fan culture, with a programming and development slate to be announced in the coming weeks.
POP’s upcoming line-up will expand on previously announced original series, including ROCK THIS BOAT: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, a series following die-hard fans of one of the most wildly popular and best-selling boy bands of all time, and THE STORY BEHIND, a series that goes behind-the-scenes of TV’s greatest hits and most iconic shows and how they got their start. POP’s programming will enhance entertainment experiences that have built-in fan bases by further igniting their passion and give fans a channel that loves being a fan as much as they do.
I was waiting for this one, seemed like just a matter of time:
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
TVGN (TV Guide Network), the entertainment channel owned by CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS.A and CBS) and Lionsgate (LGF), seen in more than 80 million homes and delivering its highest primetime audiences in over five years, announced today that it will rebrand as POP, a multi-platform destination dedicated to celebrating the fun of being a fan.
Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, and Jon Feltheimer, CEO of Lionsgate, said, “POP is an exciting new chapter for a cable network that has made great progress and generated significant ratings momentum over the past year. Our new brand not only positions the channel for continued growth but reflects its identity, focus and fan base.”
Brad Schwartz, President, Entertainment and Media, POP, continued, “A strong brand differentiates a network from its peers. The inspiration for POP is simple – When something stands out from the rest, it pops. It’s what everyone is talking about. It’s an exceptional talent. It’s a one-of-a-kind maverick. When something is so good that it earns a culture of fandom, that’s POP – and that’s what we want our channel to symbolize, a fresh new media personality that puts us firmly alongside the audience.”
The article is rather lengthy to post and Yahoo is not cooperating atm. You can Google the headline to read the rest.
Boeing Co. appears positioned to beat out two smaller rivals for the bulk of a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from orbit, according to government and aerospace-industry officials.
An award to Boeing would represent a victory over the newer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which had been considered a favorite in many quarters because of its lower costs and nimbler approach. The decision on the development of space taxis will be a milestone for commercial space endeavors, locking in unparalleled authority for contractors to develop and operate vehicles with limited federal oversight. An announcement is expected as early as Tuesday.
Recent signals from the Obama administration, according to the officials, indicate that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's leadership has concluded on a preliminary basis that Boeing's proposed capsule offers the least risky option, as well as the one most likely to be ready to transport U.S. crews to the international space station within three years. The officials cautioned that a last-minute shift by NASA chief Charles Bolden, who must vet the decision, could change the result of the closely watched competition.
But interviews with numerous space experts from industry, government and elsewhere—all of whom have been monitoring developments closely—reveal a growing consensus that Boeing is likely to emerge as the big winner to develop and operate the nation's replacement for the space-shuttle fleet, which was retired in 2011.
Good point about Burns, Goldman, Merrill & BABA. Ya just KNOW that a good part of Burn's presentation will be about LGF's partnership with BABA (As if they didn't already know) and it's potential. I hear quacking also, and it ain't my beloved Anaheim Ducks!
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Burns did a great job last time. Let's see what happens Friday through Tuesday, during and just after the presentations.
The last I heard BABA goes live Thursday the 18th. LGF may not be finished with the BABA boost in stock price yet. These next 6 trading days could be very interesting with Burns & BABA.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
May through August would be a separate pattern and could be interpreted as a completed head & shoulders, complete with sell-off. The current inverted head & shoulders pattern is about 95% completed. Time will tell.
July through present time on chart. Should the pattern complete in the next few days, BA would shoot up to high 130's up to about 141. Worth watching.
Past Milestone Award recipients include Clint Eastwood, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, director Steven Spielberg, director James Cameron, NBC Universal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer, Weinstein Co.'s Bob and Harvey Weinstein, CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves and Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.
It's been a good year for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer.
The head of the Santa Monica movie and TV studio reaped dramatically higher compensation because of a new long-term contract that he signed in May 2013. The agreement extended Feltheimer's tenure to May 22, 2018.
Then, in August, the studio reported a better-than-expected profit of $43.3 million in its fiscal first quarter, spurred in part by lower marketing costs.
On Tuesday, the Producers Guild of America announced that Feltheimer would be honored with the Milestone Award at the 26th annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Jan. 24, 2015.
The award, the guild's highest honor, recognizes "an individual or team who has made historic contributions to the entertainment industry."