Variety reports that indie film and Tv studio A24 is looking for a buyer and Apple is an interested party. The studio has given a $2.5 billion to $3 billion estimated value. In 2018, Apple signed a multi-year agreement with A24, presumably a first-look agreement.
Currently, the two studios have partnered for a new movie coming to Apple TV+ called “The Tragedy of Macbeth“, written and director Joel Coen and star Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. The movie is based on ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare and is scheduled to release later in 2021 in theaters and later will screen on the video streaming service.
Apple’s price negotiation for A24 studio acquisition is close to the asking amount
As per the report, the Cupertino tech company has negotiated a price very close to the asked for $3 billion amount.
Possible scenarios for a deal have included merging with standalone players or an outright absorption by a tech giant. A24’s tires were kicked by Apple, with whom it signed a multi-year film slate deal in 2018 that has yielded titles like Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks.” Some sources said the Apple acquisition talks happened closer to the slate announcement.
In addition, evaluating A24’s worth based on its library, the report mentions that the studio’s agreement with Amazon Prime has expired which could be a reason for Apple to explore the acquisition to offer exclusive content to subscribers.
“What’s the asset?” asked one film executive, pointing to A24’s modest library, recent selloffs to digital players like Hulu (Ilana Glazer’s Tribeca Film Festival player “False Positive”) and Amazon (the Val Kilmer Cannes doc “Val”). The Apple slate is not as cut and dried as it seems, added multiple people familiar with that arrangement. Sold to the town as a “put deal,” where a distributor is required to release an agreed-upon slate of films, the sources said Apple has passed on numerous titles that A24 hoped to go to Apple TV Plus subscribers. An individual familiar with Apple said the deal is without question a first-look agreement.
A24 at present has a pay-one output deal for movies with Showtime. Its streaming video-on-demand deal with Amazon Prime has recently expired, which could be attractive to tech companies looking for exclusivity for subscribers. The studio also has an established distribution mechanism for platform and wide releasing, a major Achilles heel for tech companies gobbling up film studios.
The Cupertino tech giant already has a multi-year television deal with Natalie Portman’s and Sophie Mas’ production house, MountainA for a first look at the new television projects produced by the studio. Recently, it was reported that the company is interested in buying ‘Hello Sunshine’ media house owned by Reese Witherspoon for $1 billion. The studio has delivered popular ‘The Morning Show’, ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Little Fires Everywhere.’