Jeffrey Katzenberg Sued Over "Side Deal" to DreamWorks-Comcast Merger

Shareholders claim the studio's founder sweetened his own deal to their detriment.
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Jeffrey Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit that claims he agreed to the $3.87 billion sale of DreamWorks Animation to Comcast because of a lucrative side deal, according to a Reuters report. 

In May, several class-action lawyers began sniffing out shareholders who were unhappy with the deal, claiming the $41 per share that Comcast paid for the studio wasn't enough.

It appears at least one firm was successful.

Reuters reported Tuesday that DreamWorks shareholder Ann Arbor City Employees Retirement System is accusing Katzenberg of breaching his duty to minority shareholders. AACERS claims Katzenberg was offered a 7 percent share of profits from the company's new media business in perpetuity, and if he hadn't taken that deal Comcast would have had to pay more for the studio to secure his support. 

As part of the acquisition, Katzenberg will serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal and become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which controls the company's interests in AwesomenessTV and NOVA.

The deal was approved by the Department of Justice last week.

 

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