Mergers are nothing new in the world of entertainment and media. AOL and Time Warner come to mind, along with Disney and Pixar. Now, Comcast is merging with DreamWorks Animation. Comcast owns NBCUniversal, a major media conglomerate that features NBC Broadcasting, Sports and Entertainment, MSNBC, CNBC, and cable stations Syfy, E!, USA Network, Bravo, Esquire, Oxygen, Sprout and the Weather Channel. The company also controls Universal Studios, both its movies and the theme park.
The connection to Universal Studios is where the DreamWorks acquisition will really shine. The franchises for Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, The Croods and Monsters vs. Aliens will be added to the NBCUniversal portfolio, giving the company many properties to draw from both on screen and at the theme park.
In terms of financials, Comcast will pay $3.8 billion for DreamWorks Animation. Though this may seem like a large purchase, Comcast is a much larger company, valued at $150 billion. This makes the purchase a sound financial decision, as the purchase is significant, but well within the parent company’s purchase strength. Shareholders in DreamWorks were able to get $41 for each share, which is a very good value.
For their part, DreamWorks lost money on a number of recent films, including Rise of the Guardians, Penguins of Madagascar, Turbo and Mr. Peabody and Sherman. 500 jobs were cut loose as a result, putting DreamWorks in a position where this type of acquisition made sense. Many DreamWorks executives will retain positions in the company following the merger.