In brief: Netflix inks deal to air Dreamworks programs
LOS ANGELES – Netflix announced a deal on Monday to air television programming from Dreamworks Animation in what the company described as its biggest transaction ever for original first-run content.
Though financial details were not disclosed, Netflix Inc. said the agreement includes more than 300 hours of new TV episodes in a multiyear deal starting in 2014.
The transaction is a major coup for both companies. It helps Netflix compete with pay TV channels such as HBO and Showtime, and it gives Dreamworks a potentially lucrative outlet for its shows as it tries to shed its reliance on two or three big-budget movies each year.
While concerns remain about how much the deal will cost Netflix in the end, the company said it is a global deal that will allow it to debut the original series in the 40 countries where Netflix operates. That could help spread the costs over more territories and more subscribers if Netflix continues to grow overseas.
Smithfield shareholder analyzes Chinese offer
RICHMOND, Va. – One of Smithfield Foods Inc.’s largest shareholders says a $4.72 billion takeover bid from China’s largest meat producer falls short of what the company would be worth if sold off piece by piece.
In a letter to the Smithfield, Va.-based pork producer’s board of directors on Monday, the New York-based investment firm Starboard Value LP estimated the company’s value at $9 billion to $10.8 billion, or about $44 to $55 per share. Starboard owns about 5.7 percent of Smithfield’s common stock.
Under the deal struck last month with Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., Smithfield will sell itself for $34 per share. The deal, which remains subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, would be the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion, including debt. Smithfield’s stock will no longer be publicly traded once the deal closes, which is expected in the second half of the year.
Homebuilders’ optimism hits seven-year high
For the first time in seven years, most U.S. homebuilders are optimistic about home sales, a sign that construction could help drive stronger economic growth in coming months.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday leaped to 52 this month from 44 in May. It was the largest monthly increase since 2002.
A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index hasn’t been that high since April 2006, just before the housing market collapsed.
Measures of customer traffic, current sales conditions and builders’ outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months also soared to their highest levels in seven years.