NBC Universal has made a new offer to buy DreamWorks SKG two weeks after talks broke down over the price for the privately held film studio, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
The Times also said that another potential suitor — Paramount Pictures — had emerged for the live-action studio founded 11 years ago by David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and film director Steven Spielberg.
Spokesmen for DreamWorks and Viacom, the owner of Paramount, were not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for NBC Universal had no comment. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)
Talks between DreamWorks and NBC Universal broke down after NBC Universal, a unit of the General Electric Co., reportedly lowered its offer from $1 billion to $900 million. As a result, DreamWorks negotiator David Geffen quit the talks, saying he doubted if they could be revived.
The Times said that in the original offer and in the proposal made Friday, NBC Universal would assume about $500 million in DreamWorks debt in addition to the purchase price.
The Times said Paramount initiated discussions with DreamWorks shortly after its talks with NBC Universal broke down.
The paper said sources cautioned that discussions were in exploratory stages and that Paramount was still weighing whether to make a bid.
The Times said that NBC Universal lowered its offer for DreamWorks after two of its major films had disappointing debuts. The studio won Oscars for "Gladiator" and "American Beauty."
It animation unit was spun off as a public company last year but whoever buys DreamWorks wins the right to distribute films made by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.