GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — Comcast Corp. is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. for more than $3 billion, it was reported Wednesday.
Such an acquisition could make the cable giant a rival to Walt Disney Co. in the lucrative family-entertainment business, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Comcast’s Universal Pictures studio has enjoyed success in recent years with its animated “Despicable Me” and “Minions” movies, but is still a relatively small player.
But its parent company has been moving aggressively to mimic Disney by using its animation properties to build out its consumer products and theme parks businesses, a strategy that could be accelerated by the addition of DreamWorks, which has produced such animated films as “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda,” the Journal reported.
The tentative purchase price represents a healthy premium over DreamWorks’ current $2.3 billion market value.
It’s not immediately clear what the deal would mean for the studio’s chief executive, veteran Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg. One person with knowledge of the talks told the Journal that DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment, Universal’s animation studio, would remain separate brands.
Katzenberg would receive a total payout of about $21.9 million if the company is sold and he leaves DreamWorks, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement. Additionally, he controls about 60 percent of the company’s common voting stock, according to the proxy cited by the Journal.
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