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D’Works diskery reborn at UMG

Further layoffs expected

DreamWorks Records will close its doors for the last time today, to be folded into Universal Music’s Interscope Group beginning Monday. A new president, most likely Polly Anthony, is expected to be announced within the next two months.

The label is cutting loose contract employees and others, with another round of layoffs expected once the label is within the Universal family.

Beyond the announcement the imprint would be folded into UMG’s Interscope-A&M-Geffen label group, Universal execs have been mum about plans for the label.

Anthony, the former Epic Records prexy, has been in talks with Universal Music honchos about joining the Interscope family in a presidential capacity with responsibility for the DreamWorks operation. Her arrival could be in February or March.

Universal is expected to retain several A&R executives with the intention of letting the imprint continue to sign the types of singer-songwriter acts for which DreamWorks has become known. DreamWorks’ artist roster includes Nelly Furtado, Rufus Wainwright and Jimmy Eat World.

The Nashville outpost for DreamWorks Records, which has been keeping profits propped up through releases from Toby Keith and Darryl Worley, is expected to remain intact.

Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Michael Ostin headed DreamWorks Records from its inception in October 1995 until Universal’s purchase of the label 2½ months ago for less than $100 million.

In early 2003, Universal shuttered MCA and moved the label’s roster, which included Mary J. Blige and Blink-182, to Interscope-Geffen. It is expected the Interscope Group and new DreamWorks management will gradually trim the roster.

Sale of the diskery in late October was followed less than two weeks later by the announcement of Universal Pictures and DreamWorks extending their homevideo and foreign theatrical distribution pact through 2010.

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