Comcast to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Comcast to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Comcast to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion
DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind family blockbusters “Kung Fu Panda” and the Oscar-winning “Shrek,” is being snapped up by US entertainment and cable giant Comcast in a $3.8 billion (roughly Rs. 25,276 crores) deal announced Thursday.

Originally part of the DreamWorks group created in the 1990s by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and former top Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, the studio was spun off as a separate company in 2004.

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

Under the deal, the animation studio will become part of NBCU’s Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures.

Upon completion, the studio’s chief executive Katzenberg will become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will include some NBCU television operations.

The new role for Katzenberg, which includes acting as consultant to NBC Universal, appeared to confirm reports he was giving up the reins at the studio he built.

“Having spent the past two decades working together with our team to build DreamWorks Animation into one of the world’s most beloved brands, I am proud to say that NBCUniversal is the perfect home for our company; a home that will embrace the legacy of our storytelling and grow our businesses to their fullest potential,” said Katzenberg.

“As for my role, I am incredibly excited to continue exploring the potential of AwesomenessTV, NOVA and other new media opportunities, and can’t wait to get started,” he said.

Burke said that Chris Meledandri, who heads Comcast’s Illumination Entertainment unit, would “help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future.”

The deal represents consolidation in a sector which is being challenged by the emergence of new Internet-based video services such as Netflix and Amazon, which are boosting their original programming.

It aims to strengthen NBCU programming for family and children in film, television and on-demand video potentially challenging the Walt Disney Co., which owns the Pixar animation studio.

Conquering the family space
In addition to hit movie series “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” Comcast will acquire a string of popular franchises such as “Shark Tale” and “Monsters vs Aliens.”

The animation studio has released 32 feature films that together have pulled in more than $13 billion in global box office receipts.
Comcast has agreed to pay $41 a share in the deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

As an independent studio, DreamWorks Animation has become an attractive target, “particularly for traditional media conglomerates that may increasingly look to diversify away from traditional TV networks,” said Ryan Fiftal, a Morgan Stanley analyst, in a note to clients this week.

DreamWorks’ “premium content and intellectual property is becoming increasingly scarce as new online video distributors compete aggressively for content that can stand out.”

But Richard Greenfield at BTIG Research said the deal was overvalued and shows “a lack of financial discipline that should concern investors” of Comcast.

Greenfield wrote in a blog post that DreamWorks’ “core movie business continues to struggle” and that “the quality of the television content has not been compelling to-date.”

He argued that the studio has produced “very few iconic movies, beyond Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.”

Comcast, which is the largest US cable TV operator, acquired a majority of NBC Universal in 2009 and in 2013 boosted its stake to 100 percent.

That gave Comcast the large NBC television network as well as Universal Studios in Hollywood and its theme parks.

DreamWorks shares surged 24 percent to $39.95 on the news while Comcast added 0.64 percent to $61.70

Earlier this week, Comcast reported a first quarter net profit of $2.1 billion on $18.8 billion in revenues. Its 2015 profit was $8.2 billion on $74.5 billion in revenues.

Tags: Comcast, DreamWorks, DreamWorks Animation, Home entertainment, Internet, Telecom

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Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Comcast Partner to Secure Email

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Comcast Partner to Secure Email

Amidst the ongoing Apple-FBI controversy, some of the biggest tech companies have joined forces to deliver a new email mechanism called SMTP STS that is aimed at making user information more secure.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Comcast and LinkedIn have together submitted a proposal to the Internet Engineering Task Force for SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) STS (Strict Transport Security). The system checks if the domain a user is sending an email to supports SMTP STS or not, and also checks if the encryption certificate is authentic and up to date. If for some reason the mechanism detect any problem, it would not let the email pass through and will let the sender know the reason.

“SMTP STS is a mechanism enabling mail service providers to declare their ability to receive TLS-secured connections, to declare particular methods for certificate validation, and to request sending SMTP servers to report upon and/or refuse to deliver messages that cannot be delivered securely,” saidthe proposal.

Email has long been one of the primary sources of digital communication, but with the rise of instant messaging apps, workplace collaboration apps, and social networks, it is slowly losing its dominance. It is always good to see companies like Google and other working on encrypting emails to make the personal more secure. Google itself uses the encryption method for its Gmail email service. Last month it tightened the security for its Gmail service by flagging those email providers that don’t support Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, which is aimed at ensuring a connection is secure before exchanging data between server ad client. Emails sent using such mail services will be flagged with a red broken lock icon on the top-right corner of the mail.

In addition, Gmail will flag emails received from contacts whose identity cannot be verified. The service will alert the receiver about the emails coming from unauthenticated sources by showing a question mark in place of the contact’s profile photo.

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Tags: Apps, Comcast, Email, Email Encryption, Encryption, Google, Internet, LinkedIn, Mails, Microsoft, Online Security,Security
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