Dreamworksanimation

Comcast Closes on $3.8 Billion Deal to Buy DreamWorks Animation

by Cate Lecuyer  |  08.23.2016

DreamWorks Animation is now officially a part of Comcast, about four months after the cable company announced plans to purchase the studio for $3.8 billion.

Under the terms of the buyout, DreamWorks Animation will now be part of Comcast-owned NBCUniversal’s Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, run by Jeff Shell, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango and NBCUniversal Brand Development. The sale does not impact live-action company DreamWorks Pictures.

RELATED: NBCUniversal Acquires DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

The acquisition closed Tuesday, with outgoing Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg sending a heartfelt goodbye memo to staff as he received $391 million in cash through the buyout of the company he helped found.

“To me, DreamWorks is all of you, the people, who have made it all happen over the years, and who will continue to do so after I drive through those gates for the last time,” Katzenberg wrote to employees.

Katzenberg will become a consultant to Comcast, and a chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which includes digital producer AwesomenessTV and tech company Nova.

The buyout is meant to help NBCU reach new audiences in the family entertainment space by capitalizing on DreamWorks Animation’s library, which includes popular film franchises such as Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon—which already has been converted into a TV series.

DreamWorks Classics also boats a large library of animated characters, including Where’s Waldo, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Casper the Friendly Ghost and Lassie.

DreamWorks Animation shareholders sold for $41 a share—a near 50 percent premium.

Katzenberg sold a total of 9,186,260 shares as he stepped away from the company. Other executives also fared well, with Disney President Ann Daly netting just under $40 million, Chief Financial Officer Fazal Merchant receiving about $3 million and Chief Counsel John Chang getting about $2.5 million, Variety reports.

As he said his farewell to employees, Katzenberg focused on the happiness the company has brought him over the past 22 years. His memo reads, in part:

“But, as Jakob Jensen, a longtime colleague of ours recently reminded me (via Dr Seuss): ‘don’t cry because it’s over, be happy because it happened.’ I couldn’t agree more, and I will happily take with me memories of working with incredibly talented individuals from around the globe, united by an amazing goal: to bring joy, wonder and laughter to the world.

“So, thank you for this remarkable place of green ogres, fighting pandas, swashbuckling cats, stranded zoo animals, prehistoric cave people, six-legged aliens, flying dragons, and so much more. I may be heading out the door, but these are the real stars of DreamWorks, and they will remain. And their numbers will continue to grow, soon to be joined by electric-haired trolls and an extremely bossy baby.”

READ MORE: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Verge

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