DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg Floats Paramount Merger, Stocks Rise

Viacom is seeking an equity partner for the film studio, which DreamWorks Animation CEO finds attractive

What does DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg “fantasize” about late at night? A potential merger with Paramount Pictures, he revealed on Tuesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

Paramount’s parent company, Viacom, is currently seeking an equity partner for the film studio and its goal is not to sell the studio outright.

“I look at Paramount today and, I know they say they’re only interested in selling a minority interest, and that would have no interest for us, but I could imagine that with a good financial partner coming with us, putting together the asset of Paramount and DreamWorks together could be extremely valuable,” said Katzenberg, who added that television is the most valuable segment of DWA.

“Do I fantasize about it though? Yeah,” said Katzenberg. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have a financial partner to come along and put a big piece of capital into that. I would want to do it in a way that was a good thing for the company and for shareholders, not just because it would be a good thing to have.”

At the close of the stock market on Tuesday, Viacom stock had risen nearly 2 percent, to $37.56, while DWA stock climbed about 2.3 percent, to $26.26.

Viacom CEO and chairman Philippe Dauman said last week the company is in “substantive discussions with a select group” of potential investors to sell a minority stake in the movie studio Paramount.

“We have been approached by several potential strategic investors in Paramount. We believe that pursuing a transaction with a minority investor would be a great benefit,” he said, speaking at the Jefferies Media & Communications Conference in New York City.