NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Comcast Corp., the parent of Universal Pictures, agreed to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. for US$3.8 billion (S$5.1 billion), in a deal that builds on the studio's film and TV franchises adding characters like "Shrek" as well as a U.S.- based production house.
Comcast will pay US$41 a share in cash for the animation studio, according to a statement Thursday. DreamWorks Animation founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which includes the company's ownership interests in Awesomeness TV and Nova, and will be a consultant to NBCUniversal.
Chris Meledandri, the founder of Universal Pictures' Illumination Entertainment, will run the combined animation business, Comcast said.
Buying the maker of the "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" films would bolster Comcast's children's lineup in theaters and add online assets like Awesomeness TV, which targets millennials on YouTube.
For Mr Katzenberg, who has tried to sell DreamWorks Animation before, the deal brings to an end more than a year of speculation about the its future and would finally shelter the company from stock market volatility linked to whether the few movies it releases a year are hits or misses.
Comcast would make an ideal parent for DreamWorks, especially with its ownership of Illumination, maker of hit films "Minions" and "Despicable Me," said Neil Campling, a media analyst at Aviate Global in London. He rates Illumination as the No. 3 animation studio behind Disney and Pixar.