Jeffrey Katzenberg to DreamWorks Animation Staff: "The Next Chapter Begins Today"
At a company-wide meeting today, the DWA founder promised that new owner Universal "will nurture and grow our businesses to their fullest potential."
“This was not a deal that we needed to do, but it’s the deal I’d always hoped would come along,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg on Thursday told a company-wide meeting at DWA’s Glendale-based studio in the wake of the announcement that Comcast’s NBCUniversal is acquiring DWA for $3.8 billion. “Not only are we passing the baton to a company that understands and values our brand, but it’s also a place that will nurture and grow our businesses to their fullest potential,” he said.
Katzenberg, 65, who created the animation unit in 1997 under the umbrella of DreamWorks SKG and then spun it off as a public company in 2004, noted, “When we founded DreamWorks more than two decades ago, our goals were ambitious in a way that no business plan or investment strategy could ever express. We wanted to build a place that created laughter and inspired children to dream bigger than ever before.”
He added, “Our imprint on the hearts of children everywhere — not to mention the entertainment industry — is unmistakable and indelible.”
DWA went on to create such animated characters and hit franchises as Shrek, the Penguins of Madagascar, the dragons of How to Train Your Dragon and The Croods. Among other kudos, the company won the first-ever Oscar for feature animation for 2001’s Shrek.
Katzenberg, who was joined by Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell and Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley as he spoke to several hundred staffers gathered outside in the fountain area of the studio's tree-shaded campus, said, “The next chapter of our company’s historic journey begins today, and as I’ve said many times, there is no doubt that the best days for DreamWorks lie ahead.”
He continued, “I rest easy in knowing that the house of dreams we’ve spent the past two decades building together — the stories, the characters, the joy and the laughter — has found the best possible home; a home where its future is secure and its legacy is embraced.
Katzenberg concluded by saying, “As always, thank you for the amazing work you do every day, and most of all, thank you for the laughter we’ve shared together.”