In animating news for DreamWorks, Comcast's NBCUniversal will scoop up the studio, behind such films as Kung Fu Panda and Shrek, in a deal worth $3.8 billion, the AP reports. The acquisition, which the Los Angeles Times says came together with "breathtaking speed," will result in DreamWorks Animation being absorbed into the Universal Filmed Entertainment group, with DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg taking on the role of chairman of DreamWorks New Media, as well as serving as a consultant to NBCUniversal. "DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal," Steve Burke, NBCUniversal's CEO, says. "[Katzenberg] and the DreamWorks organization have created a dynamic film brand and a deep library of intellectual property … [and] will help us grow our film, television, theme parks, and consumer products businesses for years to come."
CNNMoney notes the deal, though smaller, is akin to Disney's ambitions when it bought Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006, with theme park and merchandising elements being key to the buy. Although Comcast has put out successful animated films, including Despicable Me and Minions, joining forces with DW could help it compete with Disney, the Wall Street Journal notes. Katzenberg launched DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in 1994, per USA Today, and the animation studio branched off as a public company in 2004. "I am proud to say that NBCUniversal is the perfect home for our company; a home that will embrace the legacy of our storytelling and grow our businesses to their fullest potential," Katzenberg said. The deal, which will pay DreamWorks investors $41 per share, is to close by year's end. (Katzenberg was so addicted to Breaking Bad he once offered to pay $75 million for three extra episodes.)