Ron Howard And Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment Nears Sale – WSJ – Deadline

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Imagine Entertainment, the film and TV production company cofounded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, is in talks to sell to a London investment firm.
The report cites “people familiar” with the matter, and claims Centricus, the London firm, may pay between $600 milliion to $800 million for more than a 70 percent stake in the company.

The interested parties included at that time an unnamed Middle East sovereign wealth fund, as well as international banks and a domestic private equity firm. The valuation of the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind production company was reported as north of $800M.

Imagine’s umbrella consists of NY-based indie production shingle Jax Media (Emily in Paris, Russian Doll, Younger, Broad City), a majority stake in Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, a robust documentaries division including titles such as NatGeo’s Rebuilding Paradise, directed by Ron Howard, Sony Pictures Classics’ Julia, and Apple’s Who Are You, Charlie Brown? 

Imagine’s library includes Howard’s canon with such titles as Backdraft and Apollo 13, but also TV series such as 24, Arrested Development, Friday Night Lights and Empire. Howard is also set to direct his first animated feature movie for Paramount, The Shrinking of Treehorn. There’s also a series based on Howard’s Willow in the works at Disney+. Upcoming is the Netflix Andrew Garfield title tick, tick … Boom! from Lin-Manuel Miranda.

There’s also Imagine Impact, which is the production company’s incubator lab for creatives, which is a means of accelerating the script development process by removing bias in the submission process.

The WSJ report indicates that if a deal moves forward, Howard and Grazer will remain shareholders, and Imagine’s executives will continue to provide creative output. Merchant bank Raine Group will also continue to own shares, the report stated.

Source: Deadline

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