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Imagine Entertainment Enlists J.P. Morgan to Field Sale Offers

Imagine Entertainment is in the market for suitors again now that leaders Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have tapped J.P. Morgan to field incoming inquiries for the production company behind such distinctive hits as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13,” “24” and “Friday Night Lights.”

A representative for Imagine declined to comment Monday on a report in the Wall Street Journal on the hiring of J.P. Morgan. A rep for the investment bank did not immediately return a request for comment.

A source close to the situation notes that the process is in the early stages and was prompted by incoming calls to Howard and Grazer. Imagine is one of the few sizable independent outfits that remain major players in film and TV. At a time of industry turmoil and rabid speculation about continued consolidation in Hollywood, heightened interest in Imagine is not a surprise. The partners are said to be open to options ranging from an outright sale to parting with a partial stake or striking a strategic alliance with a partner that can help expand the business.

On that front, Howard and Grazer have spent the past half-dozen years building out the company beyond its core film and TV base. Imagine now includes a kids and family division, documentaries and branded content production. Imagine will mark the 50th anniversary of its formation in 2026.

In early 2022, Imagine was reported to have been in talks to sell a chunk of the company to with London-based Centricus Asset Management but no transaction came to fruition. At that time, Imagine was said to be valued at about $700 million on the high end.

Imagine has worked with Raine Capital for nearly a decade for its financing and investment strategy needs. Raine invested $100 million into Imagine in 2016. A sale of all or part of the company would be a natural exit strategy for the merchant bank that specializes in media, sports and entertainment.

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