Reliance, Spielberg fork out $26.5 mn to Paramount for 17 projects

MUMBAI: Reliance ADAG and Hollywood director Steven Spielberg have bought 17 projects from Viacom Inc‘s Paramount Pictures for $26.5 million, making the first moves to develop a wide slate of films.

Reliance and Spielberg‘s DreamWorks studio are equally sharing the costs. The roster includes films like 39 Clues, Chicago 7, Motorcade and Dinner With Schmucks.

"We have together acquired 17 projects from Paramount," confirmed Reliance Big Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney while declining to comment on the financial details.

Reliance and Spielberg are in the process of setting up a $1.5 billion company that would finance 32 movies over six years.

The global economic meltdown, though, is having an impact and it seems that the funding would be raised in various legs. JPMorgan Chase & Co is arranging a $350 million debt within three months. Reliance will put in a similar amount as equity.

"These carefully selected properties will lay the foundation for the new company. The partners continue to move forward with the various phases of additional funding," a statement said.

The timetable for the financing has, thus, been adjusted. But the partners remain enthusiastic and committed to achieve the original long term goals.

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

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