NBC Universal Acquires Dreamworks for $3.8 Billion

shrek
(Photo: Dreamworks)

One of the largest entertainment conglomerates in the world just got a bit larger. Comcast announced that its NBC Universal division was acquiring Dreamworks animation for $3.8 billion. The Wall Street Journal first reported that talks were underway yesterday for the purchase, which will significantly increase Comcast's footprint in the family-entertainment business, and Comcast confirmed the purchase, pending federal approval this morning.

While Comcast owns Universal Studios, the studio behind Despicable Me and Minions, it doesn't have the intellectual properties or popularity of Dreamworks, which has produced several popular franchises over the last decade. Some of Dreamworks' biggest hits include the Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar franchises. Dreamworks was founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen in 1994 and Katzenberg remains the head of the studio. As part of the purchase agreement, Katzenberg will leave his leadership role at Dreamworks but will remain a consultant to NBC Universal.

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Per the Wall Street Journal's report, Comcast is expected to keep Dreamworks a separate brand from its own animation studio Illumination, although both will exist under the Universal Studios brand. Dreamworks currently has a number of separate deals with other studios, including Paramount and Warner Bros., but it's expected the division will eventually work exclusively with Universal Studios as its distributor.