Update April 28, 2016 8:30am: Comcast announced on Thursday morning its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. In a press release, the conglomerate wrote “The studio will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development.” The deal still needs to be approved by antitrust regulators, but if it’s given the green light, Comcast said it expects the acquisition process to be completed by the end of 2016.
DreamWorks is one of the last major animation studios not owned by a conglomerate, and the purchase could bolster it against competition from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. DreamWorks has had some notable successes like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon, but in the last four years it has also had its fair share of flops. According to The Richest, movies like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and Penguins of Madagascar just barely made a profit.
Comcast already owns Universal Pictures, which has its own animation studio, Illumination Entertainment. Illumination has been responsible for the successful (if annoyingly pervasive)Despicable Me and Minions. According to the WSJ, DreamWorks would be maintained as a separate entity from Illumination Entertainment if the deal were to go through.
Variety notes that DreamWorks has been looking for a buyer for three years, courting SoftBank as well as Hasbro. While nothing has quite panned out, a Comcast purchase could “make use of DreamWorks’ IP-rich vault in its theme parks” and mine some of that copyright to create new film and TV content.
Both papers’ sources cautioned that talks are in early stages and could fall through.
The Wall Street Journal noted that DreamWorks’ estimated worth is around $2.3 billion. In recent years the company has pushed into TV markets, with its CEO saying that he hopes to develop an online video business to soften the financial roller coaster ride of box office returns from major motion picture releases.
Via: ARS Technica