Two months ago, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that DreamWorks was close to a financing deal with Indian media and telecommunications firm, Reliance. The deal would provide enough money for DreamWorks to ditch Viacom and regain control over its movies.
At the time, The Deal speculated that the Journal‘s report was premature, possibly leaked by David Geffen in order to generate interest among other investors, including Journal owner and News Corp chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who, obviously, also owns Fox Filmed Entertainment:
“This is what [Geffen] does really well,” a studio veteran said after details of DreamWorks’ new deal fanned across the film industry like a Malibu fire. On close inspection, the source explained, those details are not only weeks away from being worked into a contract, but out there in a way to stir up interest from interlopers. Even the scoop by which the deal-in-progress became public — page one, above the fold, in The Wall Street Journal — appeared orchestrated.
The studio veteran said Geffen likely identified the Journal’s new owner, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, as a potential suitor as well as a means to generate buzz about DreamWorks’ availability. Speculation in the Journal story about the distribution of DreamWorks’ product, post-Paramount, indicated he took the bait.
Still, since the end of July, an article a week has come out predicting that DreamWorks deal with Reliance was just days from being announced (see below). Meanwhile, a source close to the deal told us last Friday that he didn’t know when the deal was being announced.
We suspect that the hold up has something to do with the credit crisis. But to help you measure exactly how long the world has been waiting with bated breath for Spielberg and Geffen’s new deal, we give you the DreamWorks-Reliance Deal Delay Clock:
July 30, Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily: “I’m told that the DreamWorks financing deal with India’s media and entertainment conglomerate Reliance ADA — for at least $500 million — is almost completed and will be announced in the next week to 10 days.”
August 9, WSJ: “A deal between the principals of DreamWorks SKG and one of India’s largest entertainment conglomerates to set up a new film company is on the brink of completion, according to people familiar with the matter…People familiar with the situation say an agreement will likely be reached next week…”
August 14, THR: ” Steven Spielberg should have his equity partnership with Reliance Big Entertainment in place within a week…”
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