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NBCUniversal Buys DreamWorks

NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast and the world's No. 11 licensor, has acquired DreamWorks Animation (the world's No. 18 licensor) for approximately $3.8 billion.

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

Acquisiton will build on NBCUniversal’s presence in the family and animation space.

NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast and the world's No. 11 licensor, has acquired DreamWorks Animation (the world's No. 18 licensor) for approximately $3.8 billion.

As part of the transaction, DreamWorks will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandago and NBCUniversal Brand Development.

Top licensor rankings are based on License! Global's exclusive Top 150 Global Licensors report, which will be released in the May issue next week. In 2015, NBCUniversal reported $4.5 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise, while DreamWorks brought in $3.3 billion.

Following the transaction, DreamWorks chief executive officer and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will be comprised of the company’s ownership interests in AwesomenessTV and NOVA. He will also serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal.

The acquisition will give NBCUniversal a boarder reach to new audiences in the competitive kids and family entertainment space with DreamWorks’ franchises such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, among others. Additionally, DreamWorks Classics properties such as Where’s Waldo and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will also become part of the NBCUniversal portfolio, as well as DreamWorks’ consumer products business.

NBCUniversal, which already has a strong lineup of kids and family entertainment properties, will also be able to bolster its current offerings–which include Despicable Me, Minions, Jurassic World and its upcoming film, The Secret Life of Pets.

“DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal,” says Steve Burke, chief executive officer, 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. 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," says 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." 

DreamWorks stockholders will receive $41 in cash for each share of DreamWorks common stock.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, DreamWorks' stock soared above the $40 mark after the announcement and Comcast's stock also rose on Thursday and was up 0.5 percent at $61.58. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter also reports that Liongates's stock rose more than 7 percent after the announcement.

The boards of directors at DreamWorks and Comcast have approved the transaction, and the controlling shareholder of DreamWorks approved the agreement with written consent. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

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