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Reliance, DreamWorks close deal

Studio gets $825 million in financing

The latest incarnation of DreamWorks launched Monday as principal partners Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider and India’s Reliance Big Pictures announced completion of the first phase of funding for DreamWorks 3.0.

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, chair of Reliance Big parent company Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, made the joint announcement with Spielberg and Snider.

As part of the deal, J.P. Morgan Securities has arranged for $325 million in senior debt that Reliance will match. Walt Disney Studios which will distribute and market DreamWorks films, also will extend a loan to DreamWorks as part of the distrib deal.

New venture between Reliance and DreamWorks has been in the works for more than a year, but was delayed by the economic crash and the freezing of the credit markets.

“This will allow us to move ahead quickly into production with our first group of films, said Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg in a joint statement.

Statement continued: “We wish to thank Anil personally for his foresight and fortitude over the past months. We congratulate J.P. Morgan for their leadership in attracting this funding during today’s most challenging financial environment.  Our thanks also to our distribution partner Disney who we look forward to working with in getting our movies out to the global audience.”

Joining Snider and Spielberg on DreamWorks’ Board of Directors on behalf of the Reliance ADA Group are Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, vice chairman, Reliance Capital, and J.P. Morgan’s Alan J. Levine.

“Our partnership with Stacey and Steven is the cornerstone of our Hollywood strategy as we grow our film interests across the globe.  Given our faith in the business plan that they presented to us and despite the current economic climate, we were always confident that this day would come.  Now Stacey and Steven can focus on producing more of the great films for which they are renowned,” Ambani said.

DreamWorks has a long-term distribution deal with Disney which will market and distribute approximately six live-action films a year for the company, except for India where Reliance Big Entertainment will retain distribution rights.  The first release under Disney’s Touchstone banner is expected in 2010.

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