Led by two members of the family that controls Korean conglomerate Samsung, South Korea-based One World Media Corp. has invested $300 million in DreamWorks, confirming last week’s report on the investment.
The announcement comes as DreamWorks is said to be close to a deal for an alliance with MCA for international theatrical distribution rights and some video and music rights.
One World’s investment gives it a 10.8% equity stake in DreamWorks, the fledgling company founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. With the $300 million equity investment, prospects are fading that California Public Retirement Fund may put money into DreamWorks.
Future alliance ahead
Sources said One World does not have distribution rights, but that an alliance of some sort may be worked out later. Samsung has a division in Seoul called Dreambox, which includes all film-related businesses including homevideo.
One World is a subsidiary of South Korea-based Cheil Foods & Chemicals Inc., a $2 billion international consumer packaged goods and services company that is the founding company of Samsung.
The managing director of Cheil is Jay Lee, who is the grandson of Samsung founder B.C. Lee. Miky Lee is Jay Lee’s brother and the niece of Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee.
None of the DreamWorks principals would comment, but they did release a statement that said, “When we first announced plans to create DreamWorks SKG, Jay Lee and his sister Miky Lee were among the very first to communicate with us and express excitement, commitment and belief in our goal to create a studio for the 21st century. We’re delighted that talks since that time have resulted in their joining our venture as a major equity investor and partner.”
Samsung and the Lees were introduced to the DreamWorks principals by International Creative Management earlier this year. At that time Samsung was talking about investing as much as $1 billion. Although talks fell apart with Samsung, they remained open with the Lees.
One World becomes the second-largest investor in the company; software billionaire Paul Allen anteed up $500 million last month for an 18.5% stake in the company. DreamWorks also is said to have $700 million in bank loan commitments from a syndicate led by Chemical Bank, but recently had to change terms of the bank facility to accommodate some bankers’ requests.
DreamWorks announced the investment simultaneously with One World. The investment is subject to approval by the South Korea government.