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Comcast Buys Dreamworks for 3.8 BILLION Dollars…But Illumination Entertainment wins?

Here are the details from the Press Release:

NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), today announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ: DWA). One of the world’s most admired family brands, DreamWorks Animation creates animated feature films, television series and specials, live entertainment and related consumer products. The studio will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development.

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.

Following the completion of the transaction, DreamWorks Animation CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg will become Chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will be comprised of the company’s ownership interests in Awesomeness TV and NOVA. Katzenberg will also serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal.

Here is more details from Cartoon Brew on why Illumination Entertainment wins out:

As reported last night, Illumination’s Chris Meledandri will take charge of Dreamworks Animation’s business. “We are fortunate to have Illumination founder Chris Meledandri to help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, in a statement. “DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.

The bigger issue is the IP Comcast now owns.

This is what they gain from the deal:

  • Casper, Lassie, Little Golden Books, Pat the Bunny, Olivia, Peter Cottontail, Postman Pat, Veggie Tales (TBN sold it around 2010), The Lone Ranger, Voltron (The old rights holder sold it to Dreamworks some time ago), Where’s Waldo, Baby Huey, Richie Rich, Little Lulu, George of the Jungle, Crusader Rabbit, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Gasoline Alley, Broom-Hilda, Gumby, Felix the Cat, Underdog, Gerald McBoingBoing, and Roger Ramjet (THE LIST IS MUCH LARGER)
  • They gain rights from Rankin-Bass (Non Thundercats), They have rights to Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty The Snowman among others. They also have some rights to the Peanuts franchise… No telling if CBS loses the rights if Comcast asks for more money to keep the franchises (NBC aired the Rudolph franchise in 1956, and lost it in 1964 to CBS, meanwhile, Frosty was made in 1961, but didn’t air until 1968, CBS had the rights to a majority of the Peanuts franchises for a majority part of two decades, until they started losing it – to ABC and Fox. Ironically, The new Peanuts TV series is going to air on Boomerang later this year (see news item for more)

This is includes the Universal Animation Liberty (Woody Woodpecker etc), Plus – what people tend to forget – The Ganiax Liberty which they have under their Japanese Music Division (they own the studio and the shows under that Banner, via that old MCA deal).

This deal makes Comcast one of the bigger players in the US industry. They also now might use Sprout as a stepping stone to a second, much more expansive Kids Network to compete with CN. Nick and yes. Disney.

What happens now? Who knows. Fox isn’t happy because they though they could get in and there contract is over and done in 2017. Netflix is going to start paying a kings ransom for the shows they already co-own. Speaking of one of them (Voltron) – think about this. If Power Rangers even smells northward of 10o Million when it comes out – Universal will counter with a live action Voltron movie (it has been planned, but nothing has come out of that). What if Comcast wants the whole kit and caboodle. What if they get in 2017 – the holiday specials. The ones i mentioned in past article> (Saturday Morning and the Room is Empty?) It will be a MIGHTY Blow to CBS and ABC.

This was the biggest deal in the business in years. Another major merger in animation…

And something even bigger is headed our way.

Jerry Beck had something to say about it in his comments:

“With great power comes great responsibility” someone once said. I say, “with great characters comes great potential for great stories, great profits – and to have a whole lot of fun”.

You’ve just spent $3.2 billion to own ‘em. What are you going to do with them? Do the right thing and preserve them, exploit them, and release these classic cartoons from the vaults.

They will…but the results will not be pretty for those that air what ever is left already.

From Cartoon Brew (2), PR News Wire and IndyWire Animation


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