In perhaps one of the worst kept secrets in the media business, Comcast's NBCUniversal said it will purchase content provider DreamWorks Animation in a deal worth $3.8 billion that will bolster the broadcast, cable and film giant's content lineup as well as providing new fodder for its theme parks.
“DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, in a statement. "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.”
Under the terms of the agreement, DreamWorks Animation has an equity value of approximately $3.8 billion. DreamWorks Animation stockholders will receive $41 in cash for each share of DreamWorks Animation common stock. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of DreamWorks Animation and Comcast, and the controlling shareholder of DreamWorks Animation has approved the agreement by written consent.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2016the year, subject to antitrust approvals in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
Following the completion of the transaction, DreamWorks Animation CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will comprised the company’s ownership interests in Awesomeness TV and NOVA. Katzenberg will also serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal.
“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,” said Katzenberg in a statement. “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.”
Comcast was advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP on legal matters. DreamWorks Animation was advised on financial matters by Centerview Partners and on legal matters by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. DreamWorks Animation's Board of Directors was advised on legal matters by Munger Tolles & Olson LLP.