A24, an independent film and television studio, recently considered a sale with a startling asking price of $2.5 billion to $3 billion.
The much-loved indie studio behind Moonlight, Lady Bird, and UNCUT GEMS apparently interacted with a number of potential suitors for more than 18 months, implying that the sale was serious at one point. It’s unclear if the talks are still underway, although A24 has stated that they are focusing on expansion rather than a sale, according to “Variety”
When the $2.5 billion-plus asking price was first announced, it was met with some scepticism, but the media environment began to shift in the last year, making the price tag seem more reasonable. Amazon agreed to buy MGM for $8.6 billion, a sum that most insiders thought was a bit expensive, but it was a deal that got through. Reese Witherspoon was also in the news as a result of her Hello Sunshine content banner. Her company has secretly began looking for a buyer or a partner in a $1 billion transaction.
According to “Variety” A24, created in 2013 by Daniel Katz and David Fenkel, “hung a billion-dollar price tag around its neck” but the company has been reticent to finalise the sale and hand over the keys to the castle internally. A large part of this could be down to A24’s lack of understanding of how a large payout like this would influence the company’s soul, as industry insiders put it. The studio is a popular destination for indie filmmakers looking for a little more creative flexibility. A24 is a distinct brand that has attracted A-list collaborators, cinephiles, and people with a wide range of tastes. Would a large-scale sale impact the company’s image in the future? That appears to be one of the issues.
The fact that A24 has competitors who have migrated to streaming in large numbers has made the transaction more viable and worth investigating. To keep up with the competition, A24 requires more material and resources, which is why the company ventured into television. HBO’s Euphoria, Hulu’s Ramy, and Netflix’s John Mulaney and The Sack Lunch Bunch all bring their own film tastes to the small screen.
A24 currently employs over 100 people and has offices in both Manhattan and Los Angeles. The company has been doing well as is, even negotiating a multi-year film contract with Apple in 2018 that has resulted in buzz-worthy titles such as Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks. They’ve also done an excellent job of marketing their titles without relying on major buyers. They turn unknown festival films into legitimate bait for cinephiles, generating talk inside the industry and occasionally even crossing over to the general public. This is also why they’re such a good deal for potential buyers. They want to be a part of that marketing know-how, and it’s still a possibility.
Do YOU think A24 should consider a sale?