'Dune' Producer Legendary Entertainment Exploring Sale, Possible Merger (EXCLUSIVE)


Add Legendary Entertainment to the list of media companies that may capitalize on the burgeoning desire for high-end Hollywood content.

The company behind last spring’s “Godzilla vs. Kong,” one of the few pandemic era blockbusters, and the upcoming adaptation of “Dune,” has been in discussions to sell an equity stake or potentially merge its operations with another player. Bloomberg reported in April that Legendary had tapped investment bank LionTree LLC to explore possible deals, including merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). That route, one that enlists a publicly traded shell company as a means to raise capital by tapping the market, has recently been favored by the likes of Bustle and Core Scientific. But talks appear to be heating up in recent weeks, with the company exploring something separate and apart from a SPAC, according to insiders.

It may be getting fueled by the rise in deal-making in the entertainment sector. In recent weeks, news broke that A24, Imagine Entertainment and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine have all explored sales. At the same time, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is waiting for its $8.45 billion sale to Amazon to gain regulatory approval while WarnerMedia and Discovery are awaiting government sign-off on their merger.

Any deal would likely be for less than than the $3.5 billion that Dalian Wanda paid to acquire Legendary in 2016 from founder Thomas Tull, because that pact included the assumption of substantial debt. Under CEO Joshua Grode, who took over the company in 2017, Legendary has become profitable. It also maintains healthy cash flow from its dozens of movies, a list of films that includes “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover” and “Jurassic World,” which throw off revenue.

A spokesperson for Legendary declined to comment.