The guy who brought you "Shrek" has raised an ogre-sized amount of money for a new venture and may be looking for more.
After stepping down from Dreamworks Animation after its acquisition by Comcast Inc. (CMCSA), the venerable media mogul, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is heading up a new venture, raising big money.
A long-time Democratic supporter (Katzenberg fundraised for President Obama before his 2012 election), Katzenberg is bringing a wealth of experience to WndrCo, LLC, as the new venture is currently known. (For more, see also: What Does Comcast Own?)
In an SEC filing, Katzenberg's new company raised $591.5 million from 18 different investors, selling "membership units" in the company. The company may raise as much as $750 million when finished, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
At this point, it's unclear exactly where Katzenberg and his team will be investing the money, but there are no shortage of options.
"It will be in what I call digital transformation and how technology is transforming the media business—content and new ways to create content, distribute and engage with it," said Peter Csathy, founder and Chairman of Los Angeles-based CREATV Media, a media investment, innovation and advisory firm. "I can imagine investments in OTT [over-the-top] platforms, new immersive companies in virtual and augmented reality as well. If we want to know where the money is going, we have to look at the DNA of the founder and Katzenberg was the first traditional media executive who got digital transformation and seized the opportunity."
The Wall Street Journal reported that the company may look to invest in new media companies as well as other technologies. In a separate report, Bloomberg noted that WndrCo is likely to mimic the actions of IAC/Interactive Corp., which has invested in travel, dating and entertainment companies in the past.
Katzenberg, 66, is no stranger to having built large companies. Joining him are former DreamWorks Animation president Ann Daly and former Dropbox Inc. CFO Sujay Jaswa.
Katzenberg is no stranger to Hollywood, having gone from movie executive to CEO of a publicly traded company.
After stepping down from Walt Disney Co. (DIS) in which he was credited with turning around the Burbank, Calif.-based giant's animation unit, he formed Dreamworks SKG with acclaimed director Steve Spielberg and David Geffen, with Katzenberg focusing primarily on animation. In 2004, Dreamworks Animation was spun out of Dreamworks SKG, with Katzenberg having produced such hits as the "Shrek" series, "Kung Fu Panda," "Madagascar" and others both before and after the spin-off.
In 2016, NBCUniversal and Comcast purchased Dreamworks Animation for $3.8 billion or $41 in cash, a 50% premium from where the stock was trading prior to the announcement. After the deal, Katzenberg stepped in as CEO and was named chairman of Dreamworks New Media, a position he has since left. (For more, see also: Pixar Vs. Everyone Else: Who Is the Next Animation Star?)