The deal between Anil Ambani and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks SKG is stuck over arrangement of debt finance. The deal involves Reliance Big Entertainment picking up a 50% stake for $500 million and then also arranging a debt of upto $700 million.
According to this report the deal depends on Reliance getting a firm guarantee from lead bank JPMorgan Chase to raise up to $700 million in debt financing. The money raised through debt is for production of four to six movies a year. Unlike the initial hopes of DreamWorks, JPMorgan will not underwrite the entire portion of the loan and will now attempt to syndicate it.
Spielberg and other co-founders of DreamWorks, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, have repeatedly clashed with Paramount Chief Executive Officer Brad Grey since selling the studio to Viacom for $1.6 billion in 2006. The deal with Anil Ambani would allow the trio to leave Viacom as early as November this year. With this holdup in debt financing now the deal maybe further delayed.
Anil Ambani has been expanding his presence in Hollywood looking for a larger share of the entertainment pie. Earlier this year Reliance Big Entertainment had announced investments of $1 billion in a slew of Hollywood projects in the backdrop of Cannes Film Festival. With investment in Spielberg’s DreamWorks, Anil Ambani’s expected investments in Hollywood would reach around $2 billion. Reliance ADAG is looking at Hollywood as the size of the pie is much larger there.