DreamWorks linked to bid by SoftBank

DreamWorks Animation ' whose hits include Madagascar ' was spun off from DreamWorks Studios in 2004. Picture: DreamWorks/AP
DreamWorks Animation ' whose hits include Madagascar ' was spun off from DreamWorks Studios in 2004. Picture: DreamWorks/AP
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DreamWorks Animation, the Hollywood studio behind hit films Shrek and Madagascar, was linked yesterday with a possible takeover bid from Japanese giant SoftBank.

A deal would make the studio part of a cash-rich Japanese communications and media company that, under founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son, has shown a willingness to take big bets on combining disparate businesses.

The talks were first reported by industry newspaper the Holly­wood Reporter, which quoted a source as saying a buyout would value DreamWorks at $3.4 billion (about £2.1bn).

Buying DreamWorks, which is headed by veteran producer and film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, would make SoftBank the second Japanese tech company to buy a Hollywood studio, following Sony, which bought Columbia Pictures in 1989.

Dreamworks Animation was spun off from DreamWorks Studios in 2004.