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Anil Ambani Closes $825M Deal With Spielberg’s DreamWorks

16 July, 2009

After a year of negotiations, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s (ADAG) Reliance Big Entertainment and renowned film maker Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks SKG have finally closed the deal.  Reliance Big has agreed to invest $825 million (Rs4,018 crore) in Dreamworks, and both the partners will hold a 50% stake each in the firm. The studio will make five to six films every year.

According to reports, Anil Ambani would be putting $325 million in the venture as equity while The Walt Disney will be investing another $150 million. The rest will be raised as a syndication of debt from US banks like JPMorgan Chase, CityNational and Bank of America. Walt Disney has entered into a marketing and distribution agreement for Dreamworks’ films globally, except for India, where Reliance Big Entertainment will be the distributor.

The deal between DreamWorks and Reliance comes after the former’s partnership with Paramount fell apart last year. Spielberg is the director of legendary Hollywood movies like Jaws, E.T., Jurrassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, among others. DreamWorks is in talks with the likes of Clint Eastwood to direct films for the studio.

The company will have a four member board which would comprise of Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, vice-chairman of Reliance Capital, Alan Levine, entertainment advisor of JPMorgan who will represent Reliance Big, Stacey Snider, CEO, DreamWorks, and Speilberg.

This is not Anil Ambani’s first venture in Hollywood. Last year Reliance Big announced that it would invest $1 billion in several Hollywood projects which include stars like Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt.

Reliance Big IPO on Cards?

Anil Ambani  told PTI that all options regarding listing of Reliance Big Entertainment are open. “We are making a beginning now. All options are open. We will evaluate the options as we go along,” Anil Ambani has reportedly said when asked about listing Reliance Big on
the backdrop of deal with DreamWorks.

The firm could be India’s biggest entertainment companies. In February last year George Soros picked up a 3% stake in Reliance Big Entertainment for $100 million, valuing the firm at $3 billion. The firms has presence in three mainlines – internet and new media, film entertainment and TV broadcasting.


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Anil Ambani Closes $825M Deal With Spielberg’s DreamWorks

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