Comcast’s NBCUniversal Confirms Acquisition of DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Jeffrey Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which houses Awesomeness TV and NOVA

Last Updated: April 28, 2016 @ 6:30 PM

Jeffrey Katzenberg finally found a buyer: Comcast’s NBCUniversal has officially acquired DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.

Should the deal go through the requisite regulatory oversight — which is expected to happen later this year — DWA will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development.

Under the terms of the acquisition, DWA stockholders will get $41 in cash for each common share. As for Katzenberg, the DreamWorks Animation co-founder and chief operating officer will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which houses Awesomeness TV and NOVA. He’ll also maintain a consultant role to NBCU.

The acquisition gives NBCUniversal control of DreamWorks Animation’s film franchise properties like “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” Those properties will bolster Universal’s already successful push into animation with Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, which is responsible for the “Despicable Me” franchise.

It also includes a TV operation with hundreds of hours of original, animated content distributed across linear and SVOD platforms in more than 130 countries.

Additionally, it comes with DreamWorks Classics, a large library of classic characters. From that arm, “Where’s Waldo” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” will become part of the NBCUniversal portfolio, along with its robust consumer products business.

“DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal,” said Steve Burke, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal. “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,” he added. “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.”

“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,” added 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.”

Comcast was advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP on legal matters. DreamWorks Animation was advised on financial matters by Centerview Partners and on legal matters by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. DreamWorks Animation’s Board of Directors was advised on legal matters by Munger Tolles & Olson LLP.

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