Variety reports the animation studio, home of brands like Kung Fu Panda and Shrek, will become part of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group with Illumination Entertainment chief Chris Meledandri overseeing the new acquisition. Current DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal and chairman of DreamWorks Animation New Media.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio had been looking for a buyer for a number of years and talked with Hasbro at one point about the possibility of a sale.
In the talk over the last few days as word of the deal emerged, some suggested the purchase was driven by DreamWorks Animation’s TV slate, which includes the upcoming Voltron: Legendary Defender series on Netflix, and the combined heft of its animation brands with Universal’s Despicable Me and its Minions spinoff creating stronger competition for the Walt Disney juggernaut.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
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