Neon, the film distributor and production company responsible for shepherding the last three consecutive Palme d’Or winners at Cannes, is looking to sell to a deep-pocketed buyer. The New York Times first reported on the potential sale while a source independently confirmed the news to IndieWire.
Neon dipping into the market comes five months after A24 sold off a minority stake to the tune of a cool $225 million, with A24’s business overall valued at $2.5 billion. Neon has meanwhile tapped the merchant bank Raine to help explore sale options, according to the Times.
Neon declined IndieWire’s request for comment.
The tastemaking studio is looking ahead at a busy fall awards season with the festival rollouts of Cannes gems “Triangle of Sadness” (from “Force Majeure” director Ruben Ostlund) and the David Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream” (from filmmaker Brett Morgen). Neon also has Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Korean-language “Broker,” starring “Parasite” actor Song Kang Ho. Neon also jointly released the volcanology documentary “Fire of Love,” a favorite at Sundance, last month, and the film should end up in the Best Documentary Oscar race.
Neon’s position in the realm of edgy indie imprints skyrocketed when the company won its first Best Picture Oscar for “Parasite” in 2020. The film grossed over $53 million at the North American box office — previously unheard of for a Korean-made film.
The search for a buyer is in hopes of Neon broadening its television and streaming presence and to boost production resources. Streaming is already proving a lucrative ticket for the likes of Hollywood entrepreneurs like Reese Witherspoon (whose Hello Sunshine sold in 2021 for $900 million). The increase in the supply of streaming platforms means more demand for content — and cushier paydays.
Hollywood has been a deal-making hotbed in recent years as independent production companies and entertainment entrepreneurs have cashed in on the streaming boom. Reese Witherspoon, LeBron James and Will Smith have all been courted by investors betting that the rising demand for movies and TV shows will eventually lead to big paydays.
Still, in the case of Neon, there’s no guarantee of a deal — only the search for a potential investor as Neon accelerates its in-house productions
Neon was founded in 2017 by Tom Quinn and Tim League.