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Comcast buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8 billion deal

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Dreamworks

NEW YORK — Comcast is about to get more animated. The company’s NBCUniversal division is acquiring the DreamWorks Animation studio for about $3.8 billion.

On Thursday, Comcast said shareholders in DreamWorks will receive $41 in cash per share of stock — a roughly 50% premium from where the stock was trading before the merger talks were reported earlier this week.

Comcast said it expects the deal to pass regulatory muster and take effect by the end of the year.

Comcast said DreamWorks “will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development.”

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will give up his leadership position. But he will remain involved with DreamWorks’ ownership interests in two digital ventures: Awesomeness TV and NOVA. His title will be chairman of DreamWorks New Media.

Katzenberg will also be a consultant to NBCUniversal, the company said.

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said “DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.”

Comcast declined to comment when it reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday. Evidently the company was putting the finishing touches on the deal.

The deal includes a $200 million reverse breakup fee in case regulators do not approve it.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the acquisition talks on Tuesday.