After rumors of a reported sale in the past 36 hours, Comcast subsidairy NBCUniveral has announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. Chris Meledandri of the Comcast-owned Illumination Entertainment (Minions) will consult on the management of the new acquisition. The animation film giant will work under the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures and Fandango.
“DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal,” said NBCUniveral CEO Steve Burke. “Jeffrey Katzenberg and the DreamWorks organization have created a dynamic film brand and a deep library of intellectual property. DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come. We have enjoyed extraordinary success over the last six years in animation with the emergence of Illumination Entertainment and its brilliant team at Illumination Mac Guff studio. The prospects for our future together are tremendous. We are fortunate to have Illumination founder Chris Meledandri to help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future.”
DreamWorks Animation is best known for its movie franchises Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon. The California-based company currently has a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox, with it up for renewal in 2017. DreamWorks Animation also has several interests in the comics industry. In addition to licensed titles through outside companies such as IDW Publishing and Dynamite Entertainment, in 2014 the studio launched its own imprint, DreamWorks Press. DreamWorks Animation also owns the rights to classic comic and animation titles including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Gold Key characters such as Magnus Robot Fighter, Doctor Solar, and Turok.
With this acquisition, DreamWorks Animation CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg will segue out of management of the company's animated properties to become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, a new company overseeing it's properties, Awesomeness TV and NOVA. Katzenberg is said to have a consultancy with NBCUniveral.
“Having spent the past two decades working together with our team to build DreamWorks Animation into one of the world’s most beloved brands, I am proud to say that NBCUniversal is the perfect home for our company; a home that will embrace the legacy of our storytelling and grow our businesses to their fullest potential,” said Katzenberg. “This agreement not only delivers significant value for our shareholders, but also supports NBCUniversal’s growing family entertainment business. As for my role, I am incredibly excited to continue exploring the potential of AwesomenessTV, NOVA and other new media opportunities, and can’t wait to get started.”
Under the terms of the agreement, common stock shareholders of DreamWorks Animation will receive $41 in cash for each share owned.
Such a major company purchase will be subject to antitrust approvals from the United States and abroad.