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Comcast ‘moves for $3bn DreamWorks’

Kids-logo-460_2All Hail King Julien 2US cable and entertainment giant Comcast Corp. is reportedly in talks to buy Californian studio DreamWorks Animation for more than US$3 billion.

The Wall Street Journal has cited unnamed sources close to talks that could see Jeffrey Katzenberg’s company joining the likes of NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures and Comcast Cable to the Comcast stable.

Adding DreamWorks to its stable would see Comcast significantly bolstering its family entertainment business, which despite recently animated movie successes Despicable Me and Minions, remains relatively small.

DreamWorks Animation, which is separate to DreamWorks SKR, counts brands such as Minions, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar on its books. Many of these have been turned into television shows, with Netflix’s All Hail King Julien one notable example.

DreamWorks also owns 51% of MCN AwesomenessTV, which Verizon Communications earlier this month bought a 24.5% stake in for US$159 million.

The WSJ reported that the stated purchase price – the US$3 billion region – was significantly higher than DreamWorks Animation’s current US$2.3 billion market value.

A source suggested DreamWorks and Minions studio Illumination Entertainment would be kept separate following a deal, though whether DreamWorks CEO Katzenberg would remain with the merged company is unclear. He currently controls about 60% of the common shareholder voting stock and would make more than US$20 million from a sale.

DreamWorks has been chasing a new financial partner for some time. Previous talks with Japan’s SoftBank and toyco Mattel ended without deals. WSJ sources claimed other talks in China have occurred more recently.

For Comcast, buying DreamWorks would be among its biggest deals in the entertainment market since buying NBCU from General Electric in 2011.