This is the deal that DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg appears to have been alluding to last night when he said he had video-related “news to share pretty quickly.” He says this AM that the YouTube destination is “one of the fastest-growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy.” AwesomenessTV has TV and film aspirations which indicates it has “continued cross-platform expansion plans,” the companies say. The deal, which includes contingencies, should provide a nice payoff for founder and CEO Brian Robbins as well as UTA and Ziffren Brittenham — all of whom supported (the trendy term is “incubate”) the young service. Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says DWA’s acquisition is “strategically prudent” given the growth in Internet video viewing even though it will “likely be dilutive [to earnings] in the near term.” DreamWorks shares are up 6.6% in mid-morning trading. Here’s the release:
GLENDALE, Calif., May 1, 2013 — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that it has agreed to acquire AwesomenessTV, one of the most subscribed-to teen networks on YouTube. This groundbreaking deal recognizes the growing value of digital content creation and consumption.
With this deal, DreamWorks Animation will acquire a thriving next-generation media company, which though its Multi-Channel Network on YouTube has already signed up over 55,000 channels, aggregating over 14 million subscribers and 800 million video views. In addition, the AwesomenessTV brand has recently extended beyond the mobile platform into television and film, signaling continued cross-platform expansion plans. As part of DreamWorks, Brian Robbins , the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AwesomenessTV, will continue to grow the company, cultivating the brand’s distinctive content. In addition, Robbins will assume an executive role at the studio to develop a DreamWorks Animation branded digital family channel, harnessing the studio’s resources, technology and vast IP portfolio.
The Company has agreed to acquire AwesomenessTV for total up-front consideration of approximately $33 million in cash. In addition, subject to the satisfaction of certain terms and conditions described in the definitive merger agreement, the Company will be obligated to make additional contingent cash payments from time to time if certain earnings targets are met in 2014 and 2015. The maximum amount of potential contingent consideration payable is $117 million.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. DreamWorks Animation expects that the transaction will be completed during the month of May 2013.
“Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg . ” Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space.”
“The acquisition of AwesomenessTV by DreamWorks Animation speaks to Jeffrey’s vision for the future of entertainment, the immense appetite for new kinds of storytelling and the power and reach of YouTube,” said Brian Robbins . “The incredible opportunity to take all the resources of this amazing global brand with beloved character franchises and create a dedicated family channel has extraordinary potential – I can’t wait to get started.”
“In a very short time, Brian Robbins has built AwesomenessTV into a powerful, next-generation, audience network on YouTube,” said Robert Kyncl , Global Head of Content for YouTube. “DreamWorks Animation’s acquisition is symbolic of the incredible evolution of online entertainment and continues the exciting momentum of creators on the platform. I look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration.”
AwesomenessTV and Robbins were represented by United Talent Agency and Ziffren Brittenham, who together incubated AwesomenessTV.