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Comcast Buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8 Billion Deal

Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri to oversee DreamWorks Animation; Jeffrey Katzenberg to serve as chairman of a new entity called DreamWorks New Media.

DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Kung Fu Panda 3.’

The deal is done. Jeffrey Katzenberg has sold DreamWorks Animation -- the studio behind the Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon franchises -- to Comcast-owned NBCUniversal in a deal valued at $3.8 billion, according to a report by the New York Times.

The agreement will see DreamWorks Animation shareholders paid $41 a share, more than 50 percent over its closing price on Tuesday, when news of a possible deal first emerged. DWA chief Katzenberg, who is expected to gain nearly $400 million from the deal, will become a consultant to NBCUniversal and serve as chairman of a new entity called DreamWorks New Media.

Stephen B. Burke, NBCUniversal’s CEO and senior vice president of Comcast, said Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri would oversee the DreamWorks Animation business, while Katzenberg would remain in charge of assets such as digital network AwesomenessTV.

The $3.8 billion price tag puts DreamWorks Animation in the league of Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm, both of which were acquired by Disney for about $4 billion each.

The takeover is subject to an antitrust review by either the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission, but does not require approval by the Federal Communications Commission. Comcast expects the transaction to close by the end of 2016.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.