Before it turned to a bigger, beefier offer from Comcast, DreamWorks Animation talked to the Chinese private-equity firm PAG Asia Capital about a buyout that would have taken the cartoon studio private, a source familiar with the talks confirmed.
PAG quickly faded into the background once the U.S. conglomerate trained its sights — and, eventually, a $3.8 billion all-cash offer — on the Glendale-based maker of films like “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar.” The Chinese investment firm came nowhere close to the Comcast offer, which amounted to a 51% premium for DreamWorks.
The private-equity firm’s website describes it as “one of Asia’s largest alternative investment management firms” and says it has $15 billion under management. It recently joined with Apex Technology to the American printer company Lexmark International for $2.5 billion. PAG’s chief executive, Weijian Shan, previously held the position of partner in the U.S. investment firm TPG.
DreamWorks has a substantial presence in China, with a large minority investment in Oriental DreamWorks, which helped the company put out “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which has garnered almost $517 million in box office worldwide.
Analysts have suggested that the DreamWorks acquisition will give Comcast a chance to expand its animation operations — currently centered on its Universal Studios Illumination Entertainment.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news about PAG Asia Capital’s interest in DreamWorks.