Rumor mill: Comcast looking to get its Disney on with possible $3B DreamWorks Animation buy

Comcast is in discussions to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. in a deal valued at around $3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) reps had no comment for FierceCable. The topic didn't come up during Comcast's better-than-expected first-quarter earnings report, either. 

On paper, the deal seems to make sense. "The combination could provide a breadth second only to Disney," said Barclays, in a note to investors this morning. 

As WSJ noted, Comcast's business model is beginning to look a bit like that of the Walt Disney Co., which takes theatrical movie hits and monetizes them across highly lucrative theme park and consumer products divisions.

Through its Universal Pictures division last year, Comcast saw Minions gross $1.16 billion at the global box office, while Jurassic World grossed $1.67 billion. These hits were then translated into rides, attractions and tchotchkes at NBCU's theme parks division, which saw revenue spike by 57.5 percent in the just-reported first quarter. 

While Universal Pictures churned out hits in 2015, more would be better as far as family-oriented entertainment is concerned. For its part, DreamWorks Animation (DWA) has the goods, producing recent hit film franchises such as Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

For publicly traded DWA, the problem has long been a lack of vertical integration — the company lacks the components to truly cash in when its films hit, leaving it overly exposed when it misses. A Comcast integration would solve that problem. 

Some interesting things to note about a potential deal:

DreamWorks owns AwesomenessTV, which — among other relationships — is a key programmer for Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) Go90 mobile programming service.

Also, DWA has an output deal with Twentieth Century Fox, which is set to release all of the studio's movies through 2017.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story

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