Comcast Negotiating DreamWorks Animation Buyout for Over $3 Billion
The adult version of realizing Santa Claus is not real is the revelation that pretty much everything on Earth is owned by one of a small handful of multinational conglomerates. Trace the corporate parentage of any major entertainment enterprise back far enough, and unless it travels the rocky road of independent operation, it’ll inevitably lead to one of six megastudios. Warner Bros., for instance, is an asset of the Time Warner corporation, which also owns the CW, HBO, DC Comics, Cartoon Network, CNN, Hanna-Barbera, and plenty of other specialty branches diverging from their flagship studio to release niche features. It’s creepy and unsettling, but also how the world works, so there’s not much that puny humans such as you or I can really do.
But such an understanding is essential to grasping the full significance of today’s news that Comcast has entered talks to buy out DreamWorks Animation for a figure that the Wall Street Journal clocks at upwards of $3 billion. Comcast’s portfolio includes the NBCUniversal entertainment conglomerate (remember on 30 Rock, when the dingbats from “Kabletown” came up from Philadelphia to purchase NBC?), which in turn owns Universal Studios. DreamWorks has worked closely with Universal as a distribution partner in the past, but full-on ownership would be a significant step for the animation outfit currently under the Amblin Partners banner.
But the real question is what this all mans for we regular human beings, who do not spend all our free time researching the various corporate lineages of our favorite companies and constructing elaborate maps connected with red yarn on the walls of our bedrooms. Consider the fact that Universal’s portfolio already includes Illumination Entertainment, a relatively nascent animation studio responsible for the Despicable Me pictures and their Minions spinoff, The Lorax, and the upcoming talking-animal extravaganzas The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. So, broad-strokes, the possibility of a Shrek-Minions crossover just became a lot less remote.