Rich Dudes│Jeffrey Katzenberg’s $900M Net Worth Earned From Disney to DreamWorks
Jeffrey Katzenberg is a Hollywood mogul whose box office successes and merch deals made him $900 million. He co-founded DreamWorks Animation SKG and produced films like Shrek and The Lion King.
Updated Mar 28, 2023
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Jeffrey Katzenberg is an American entrepreneur known for transforming the Walt Disney Company into a multi-billion dollar empire and for founding the film studio DreamWorks SKG.
Along with filmmaker Steven Spielberg and music mogul David Geffen, Katzenberg helped initiate the 21st-century American film industry. In his time in the limelight, Katzenberg gained insight and experience that helped DreamWorks become one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world.
Jeffrey Katzenberg is the CEO and 10% owner of Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc., owning 1.1 million shares of the company’s stock worth over $47 million.
Jeffrey Katzenberg is a star in the Hollywood entertainment business, given his estimated net worth of $900 million. With an impressive career that began in the 1980s at Walt Disney Studios, Katzenberg quickly became a major force in the industry.
At only 31 years old, Jeffrey Katzenberg became one of the youngest studio heads in Hollywood history when he was appointed president of Paramount Pictures.
In 1978, Paramount Pictures tasked him with reviving the Star Trek franchise after a decade of dormancy. He set out to produce a new movie, which eventually became Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979.
He went on to co-found DreamWorks SKG, a production company that put out hits such as American Beauty, Gladiator, and Saving Private Ryan. But this impressive Hollywood exec didn't make an exit from the Mouse House without leaving his signature mark.
As the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, Katzenberg was the mastermind behind animated films like The Lion King, Kung Fu Panda, the Shrek saga, and the beloved Madagascar series.
So, how did Katzenberg get to his current net worth of $900 million? For starters, he's a master negotiator with a strong track record of success at the box office, in merchandising deals, and in syndication fees. On top of that, he notably sold DreamWorks SKG to Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal for an impressive $3.8 billion in 2016.
Katzenberg’s passions aren’t limited to cinema, as he’s also known for philanthropic endeavors like donating millions of dollars to Boston University, the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Center for Animation, and the AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Jeffrey Katzenberg net worth at a glance
Dec 21, 1950
American born in New York, New York
Became a millionaire at
Film producer, television producer, businessperson, angel investor
Sources of wealth
Hollywood career, DreamWorks Studios
Startups, real estate, stocks, cars
How Jeffrey Katzenberg made his money
How Jeffrey Katzenberg made his money
Katzenberg established himself as a major player in the entertainment industry and an astute businessman early in his career. His journey began when he left his role as the head of Disney Studios in 1994 and launched the independent animation studio DreamWorks SKG with the help of producers David Geffen and Steven Spielberg.
Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Dreamworks headquarters in Glendale, California.
Jeffrey secured a $250 million settlement from Disney, which jumpstarted the venture. Through 12 years of hard work and dedication, Katzenberg took DreamWorks SKG public in 2004 and turned it into a massive success.
Though success was sweet, the real cash cow came in 2016 when Katzenberg sold DreamWorks Animation to Comcast-Universal for $3.8 billion. This sale garnered Katzenberg $420 million, adding to his impressive net worth of $900 million.
Katzenberg then invested in one of the most ambitious projects of his career—the streaming platform Quibi. He secured $1 billion in investments and enlisted the help of partner Meg Whitman. The service launched on April 6, 2020, but was shut down six months later—one of the biggest streaming service failures to date.
How Jeffrey Katzenberg invests
How Jeffrey Katzenberg invests
In addition to being a stakeholder in his media companies, Katzenberg invested wisely in luxurious homes, private equity, and a venture capital firm.
Let's take a look at what's in Jeff’s portfolio.
Jeffrey Katzenberg has been a media mogul since the 1990s. He co-founded DreamWorks in 1994 and produced three Oscar-winning films, netting himself almost half a billion dollars when he sold the company in 2016.
He then turned his sights to video streaming—launching the video streaming platform Quibi with $1 billion in funding from major investors. The company was a part of WndrCo, an investment company Katzenberg founded in 2017.
Jeffrey Katzenberg lost about $5.5 million as a result of Quibi’s failure.
In December 2020, Quibi announced its closure after failing to reach the expected number of subscribers. In January 2021 Roku, Inc. purchased Quibi's content library for less than $100 million.
Katzenberg has also put money into startups including Everyrealm, point.me, Airlift, Pogo, Front Finance, Reprise, Cent, VersusGame, Ethena, Wagmo, Minly, and SpaceX, though the total value of these investments is unknown.
Startup investments can be a great way to make some serious returns. On average, venture capital investments in startups have returned over 28% per year over the past decade, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
Investing in a startup could be a good call, but it comes with many risks. About 20% of startups fail within their first two years, so it's crucial to dig deep and do your homework before investing in a company with a solid business plan and a competent team.
But hey, investing in startups isn't just about making money. It's about supporting innovation by taking a chance on an idea that could change the world. And who knows—maybe you'll be the next big-time angel investor like Peter Thiel or Mark Cuban.
Jeffrey Katzenberg is a hardcore house hunter who has amassed a portfolio of luxury real estate. He paid $35 million for a 6.4-acre Beverly Hills property with an infinity pool in 2009, but sold it eight years later for an impressive $125 million cash, a 357% return on investment.
Jeffrey also owns a 10,000-square-foot Malibu compound that’s worth an estimated $100 million. On top of that, Katzenberg offloaded a cabin in Utah's Deer Valley for $11.6 million after originally listing it for $20.5 million.
His Mediterranean-style mansion in Beverly Hills sold for $9.3 million after its first listing at $20 million. Though he doesn’t drive a hard bargain, Jeff has an impressive portfolio of properties.
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Beverly Hills luxury home sold for $125 million in August 2020.
Real estate investments can be a great way to make some serious dough. According to the National Association of Realtors, single-family home prices rose by 4.8% in 2019, the highest growth rate since 2005. The average annual return on real estate investments has been around 10% over the past two decades.
This means that real estate can be a viable investment, right up there with stocks. And the best part is that real estate investments can provide a steady stream of passive income—rent payments earn yield alongside potential value appreciation.
However, like any investment, there are risks involved with residential real estate. You've got to deal with tenants, maintenance, fluctuating property values, and market conditions. But if you're up for the challenge, real estate investing could be a great slow-and-steady approach to building wealth.
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s $900 net worth likely has high exposure to his company, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. He has a 10% stake in DreamWorks worth over $47 million and remains the CEO. The gig still earns him at least $13.5 million a year, according to a 2015 SEC filing.
Katzenberg became a director of Zynga Inc. after joining the company’s board in 2011. Subsequently, he also owns ZNGA shares, though it’s unclear how many. His stock portfolio is mainly comprised of Dreamworks Animation and Zynga shares.
Take-Two Interactive completed its $12.7 billion acquisition of Zynga in May 2022. While we don’t know how much of the company Katzenberg owned, he likely went home with a healthy payout from the deal.
Stocks have been a great way to invest, with an average return of 10.5% over the past 10 years. Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, but history shows that stocks have performed quite well compared to other investments such as bonds, cryptocurrency, and mutual funds.
So, if you're looking to put your hard-earned money to work, stocks might be a good option to consider. Just make sure you do your research and don't put all your eggs in one basket.