Dreamworks Gets Indian Funding

The principals of DreamWorks SKG are close to a deal with one of India’s biggest entertainment conglomerates to form a new movie venture reports The Wall Street Journal.

The move, a deal with Mumbai-based Reliance ADA Group, would give director Steven Spielberg the cash ($500-$600 million) to finance his DreamWorks team’s departure from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures later this year.

The Indian firm has interests in telecommunications, financial services and entertainment and wants to build a media empire by financing Hollywood pictures. This move gives them a large share in the company which will likely seek another $500 million or so in debt financing before departing from Paramount.

Once the money is in place, Dreamworks will generate around half a dozen pictures a year. The big question now is which studio will he choose to distribute the projects. Universal Pictures remains the most likely contender, though 20th Century Fox is emerging as a serious new challenger.

Paramount retains rights to the films they created during their short time at Paramount – most notably the “Transformers” franchise.