EXCLUSIVE: Second-round bids for Dick Clark Productions best known for producing the Golden Globes and other awards shows came late last week into the Raine Group which is handling the sale. Deadline has learned that, besides CBS, private equity firm Guggenheim Partners, CORE Media Group backed by Apollo Global Management, and Boston-based private equity company Thomas H. Lee Partners are the four main contenders. Insiders say the bidders will likely narrow two by the end of the week. “It’ll play out from there with another round of bidding and be done by the end of the month.” A second-round bid from CBS is expected in the next few days. “That bid’s going to be well north of $350M,” said a source. Reuters already has reported that the asking price for DCP is $350M and that CBS is in the running.
Deadline also has learned that DCP’s Mark Shapiro won’t be staying on as CEO after the sale. His departure was announced in the advance materials that were sent out by DCP’s owner Red Zone Capitol Management. “The plan is Shapiro will step down as CEO but remain attached in some capacity because of some of the properties he brought in during his tenure at DCP,” an insider tells Deadline.
CBS chief Les Moonves right now is the most aggressive about wanting to buy Dick Clark Productions. “Moonves and his guys are really serious. They want this,” a source tells Deadline. “It makes sense for CBS to want DCP. They already show the Academy of Country Music Awards that DCP produces. So if they buy DCP it goes from them paying DCP, to paying themselves. That cost synergy is a strong incentive.” That show and DCP’s other awards shows like the American Music Awards on ABC and the Golden Globes on NBC are what make the production company so valuable. “Those Award shows are long-term deals so that’s money coming in year after year to the new owner,” said a source close to events.
This year saw a hard-fought court battle between the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and DCP over the TV rights to the Golden Globes. A video deposition of the CBS CEO shown at the trial revealed that in 2010 Moonves discussed his interest in bringing the Globes to CBS with both the HFPA’s Phil Berk and with DCP’s Shapiro. DCP made a $150M deal with NBC to continue broadcasting the Globes until 2018. (NBC began doing it in 1996.) At the end of the 2-week, the judge eventually decided in DCP’s favor but the HFPA is now appealing that verdict.
Of course, there’s always a chance that Red Zone Capitol’s Dan Snyder may decide not to sell DCP. Sources tell Deadline the Washington Redskins owner likes the cache of owning a production company with prestigious awards shows. “But if it’s a serious offer, it would be hard to refuse. And, from the first round, it looks like it’s on that track,” the insider told Deadline. Red Zone Capitol Management bought DCP in 2007 for around $175M and currently owns the TV producer with Six Flags Entertainment Group which holds a 40% stake.
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