NBCUniversal acquires DreamWorks Animation for $3.8bn

NBCUniversal is to buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion in cash as the conglomerate moves to rival the likes of Disney, Time Warner and Viacom.

The studio, responsible for hit kids’ properties such as Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon, will become part of NBCUniversal’s Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

The deal itself values DreamWorks Animation at $41 a share, taking the total equity value of the deal, including debt, to $4.1 billion.

According to Variety, after the close of the sale, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks Animation New Media and will serve as consultant to NBCUniversal.

“DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products business for years to come,” said NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke.

“We are fortunate to have Illumination founder Chris Meledandri to help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

“This agreement not only delivers significant value for our shareholders, but also supports NBCUniversal’s growing family entertainment business,” Katzenberg said.

“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.”

The acquisition bolsters NBCUniversal’s family entertainment offerings, potentially allowing them to plug in DreamWorks Animation’s cartoon characters across its parent company’s Comcast’s array of theme park, children’s TV programming and merchandising holdings.

When compared to other high profile acquisitions, the DreamWorks deal comes in only slightly lower than the $4 billion Disney paid for LucasFilm in 2012 and the $3.96 billion it acquired Marvel for in 2009. 

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