The reductions unsurprisingly are focused on corporate overhead groups along with distribution and consumer product: "Areas where we can fully integrate operations with NBCUniversal," says Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell in a memo.
NBCUniversal closed on the $3.8B deal three weeks ago and began folding the studio into Universal along with Universal Pictures, Fandango, and its brand development unit.
China's commerce ministry is launching an anti-monopoly probe into NBCUniversal's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) planned purchase of DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) after receiving unspecified complaints the $3.8B media deal could hurt domestic competition.
China's film market, the world's second largest, is a magnet for film producers looking to tap the country's 1.4B people, even though there are signs that stellar box office growth may be starting to slow.
DreamWorks' feature animation group will be run by co-presidents of Feature Animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria, execs that DWA chief Jeffrey Katzenberg boosted in February to refocus the studio's output. They'll report to Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley; Margie Cohn will lead a combined DreamWorks and Universal TV animation business.
Combined Universal/DreamWorks games, digital and consumer products will be led by NBCUniversal Brand Development President Vince Klaseus.
As expected, Katzenberg will become Chairman of DreamWorks New Media, overseeing the company's shares in AwesomenessTV and NOVA. He walks away with a cash-out package of a whopping $391M, on the strength of 10.2M shares and options in the studio.
Shareholder Ann Arbor City Employees Retirement System says Katzenberg breached a duty to minority shareholders in taking a consulting deal where he takes just $1 in annual salary -- but 7% off profits from DreamWorks New Media (where he'll be chairman), in perpetuity.
Had Katzenberg not gotten that deal, the plaintiffs say, "Comcast would have been required to increase the merger price to secure Katzenberg's support."
Comcast agreed to pay $41/share in cash in the deal, and Katzenberg voting his controlled stock in favor assured approval for the transaction.
Shari Redstone, has been in direct contact with Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) founder Jack Ma in connection to a sale of Paramount Pictures, sources told the NY Post.
Meanwhile, National Amusements - Viacom's (VIA, VIAB) controlling shareholder - has started talks with investment banks about the Paramount sales process to gather more information about a potential deal.
Viacom had hoped to use the proceeds from the expected $7B sale of 49% of the studio to pay down debt and perhaps boost its share price by $10.
Sources also said the Redstones have reached out through back channels to DreamWorks (NASDAQ:DWA) CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to see if he has an interest in running Viacom.
If it seems like NBCUniversal (CMCSA +1.6%) moved quickly from rumor to inked deal on its scquisition of DreamWorks Animation (DWA +0.3%), it's because there really was a race, against yet another Chinese investor in U.S. entertainment.
PAG Asia Capital was the mystery bidder for the studio, The Wall Street Journal reports. But Comcast's premium won the day.
Comcast agreed to pay $3.8B for DreamWorks Animation, or $41/share in cash. DWA has since traded up to $40/share.
PAG has $15B under management and last month agreed to go in with Apex Technology on a purchase of Lexmark. Meanwhile, over the past year Chinese firms have bought into U.S. theatrical exhibitions and film studios as well as kicking the tires on a minority stake in Paramount Pictures.
Fresh from this week's news that it's being acquired by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) beat on top and bottom lines in Q1 earnings on the strength of consumer products, and TV and new media (both of which tripled revenues).
Shares are relatively unchanged and have been hovering at a small discount (today's closing price: $39.78) to Comcast's $41/share price.
Feature films faced a tougher comp due to the Q1 2015 pay TV distribution of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Mr. Peabody and Sherman along with higher home entertainment sales. Kung Fu Panda 3, released domestically Jan. 29, has contributed $30.9M in feature film revenue this quarter; Home contributed $18.3M in revenue.
Revenues by segment: Feature films, $94.3M (down 26.7%); Television Series and Specials, $56.99M (up 214%); Consumer products, $21.4M (up 49.1%); New media, $15.2M (up 232%).
DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) has resumed trading up 24.2% -- hitting its highest level since 2010 -- after a halt tied to its $3.8B acquisition deal with NBCUniversal.
NBCU parent Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is off 0.4% after making the very Disney-like move. Speculation yesterday had turned to Comcast's interest in DWA focusing on what it could do for theme parks and consumer products rather than the film slate itself.
DreamWorks Animation will join Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCU Brand Development in Comcast's Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.
Comcast notes it gets a broader reach toward a "host of new audiences in the highly competitive kids and family entertainment space," with properties including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, as well as a family-oriented TV operation and a library of classic characters including Where's Waldo and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.