Comcast, parent company of Universal Pictures, is reportedly in talks to purchase Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Animation studios for more than $3 billion, making a major play for some of Disney's audience.
Although Universal Pictures is home to some of the bigger animated franchises, including Despicable Me and Minions, the purchase of DreamWorks Animation — which includes King-Fu Panda and Madagascar — would be a huge addition to its roster. According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast is hoping to use the acquisition to build theme parks and increase consumer products related to the franchises, including things like toys and apparel.
Despite the looming purchase, however, it looks like Comcast isn't looking to merge Universal and DreamWorks, but rather keep them running as two separate companies. While Comcast is very interested in buying the studio, offering close to $1 billion more than DreamWorks is currently valued at ($2.3 billion), the studio's CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has reportedly been trying to sell the studio off for years, taking meetings with companies like Hasbro to try and ink a deal.
The studio has suffered from financial loss over the past few years, leading to drops in stock prices and massive layoffs in California, but recently signed a deal with Netflix to create a bunch of different television shows. Comcast also owns NBC Universal and the various television channels found under that umbrella. (Disclaimer: NBC Universal is a major investor in Vox Media which owns Polygon)
There's no word on whether Comcast plans to increase the amount of movies DreamsWork produces — the studio had to bow out of some feature projects following the closure of its Northern California office — but popular titles like the Minions movies are still on the table.