Reliance ADA, Spielberg to start a $1.5 bn company

MUMBAI: Reliance ADA Group has signed a deal with DreamWorks SKG to start a new $1.5 billion company, completing Steven Spielberg‘s exit from Paramount Pictures and providing Indian billionaire Anil Ambani a foothold in Hollywood.

The deal is expected to finance a minimum slate of 32 movies over six years, says a source in Reliance. "The $1.5 billion amount is being raised through a mix of equity and debt," he adds.

Reliance will pump in $550 million as equity investment while JPMorgan Chase & Co. will lead the debt financing.

When contacted, Reliance Big Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney refused to offer his comments.

Meanwhile, Paramount said in a statement it will let Spielberg and DreamWorks chief Stacey Snider join the new company immediately.

Reliance had earlier announced it would produce a slate of 69 movies in nine languages over two years. The list included developing and co-producing movies with Hollywood stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Nicholas Cage and Chris Columbus.

"It is a big step for Reliance which has already lined up a rich slate of Bollywood films. Hollywood, after all, dominates the film business across the world. Reliance already has a strong presence in the multiplex and FM radio business and plans to enter the broadcasting arena by the year-end," says an analyst who tracks the company.

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