Who Will Get Bought First, RealD or DreamWorks?

Buyouts hopes are becoming the new trend this week. First, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (NASDAQ: DWA) was reportedly in buyout talks with Japan’s Softbank and those talks have reportedly already cooled off. Now activist investor Starboard Value has made an unsolicited offer to buyout RealD Inc. (NYSE: RLD).

24/7 Wall St. simply wants to know — which company will be acquired first? Admittedly, neither or both deals could come to fruition.

RealD confirmed that it had received an unsolicited and non-binding indication of interest from Starboard, valuing the company at $12 per share around $540 million. Starboard is the third largest shareholder in RealD and had also just increased its stake to 9.9% from its previous level of 9.1%.

The activist investor explained that the company’s near term performance could suffer from a challenging release schedule for 3D films and it would be better suited to be a private company for the time being. RealD posted a profit in the first quarter, following several consecutive quarters of losses. The company had an IPO price of $16, which the stock has consistently traded below dating back to 2011.

As a result of the offer, RealD shares were trading up 27% at $11.78 mid-Thursday. The range on the day has been $11.37 to $11.97. RealD has a consensus price target of $14.38 and a 52-week trading range of $6.19 to $13.18.

DreamWorks reportedly received an offer from SoftBank for $32 per share that would value the company at roughly $3.4 billion. This would put a premium of 39% on the stock from the last closing price before the offer.

When reports of the SoftBank offer to DreamWorks were coming out, the stock had fallen nearly 40% from its December high amid an underwhelming string of box office numbers. DreamWorks traded as high as just over $28 earlier this week, and another 4% drop on Thursday had the stock down around $25.60. The stock has a consensus price target of $22.11 and a 52-week trading range of $19.20 to $36.01.

RealD’s market value after the pop is around $590 million. Now that the dust has settled around the reported DreamWorks deal, it has a market cap of about $2 billion. It is interesting here that both companies could be acquired, and also that neither may ultimately be acquired as well. The question remains — which company will be acquired and go private first?

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