Any such acquisition could make the cable giant a rival to Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. in the lucrative family-entertainment business, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
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,” according to the Journal.
The tentative purchase price represents a healthy premium over DreamWorks’ current $2.3 billion market value.
It wasn’t immediately clear what the deal would mean for DreamWorks’ chief executive, the 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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