After struggling financially since its last relaunch in 2009, Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios has raised more than $800 million of equity and debt. However, all of that is about to change, following the recent announcement that Spielberg has returned to Universal Pictures in a multi-year partnership.
“The same magnet that pulled me to Universal when I first wanted to make movies is bringing me home again to this new exciting relationship,” Spielberg said in a statement. “It is my hope that we can make some more beautiful music together.”
DreamWorks will be renaming itself Amblin Partners, taking the name of Spielberg’s production company known for films such as E.T., Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park. Putting in about $200 million, Participant Media — an entertainment company founded by former eBay Inc. executive Jeff Skoll, is the new venture’s biggest financial backer.
Other investors include India’s Reliance Entertainment — the major backer of DreamWorks’ previous incarnation — and global distributor Entertainment One. With Spielberg contributing as well, they collectively bring in $100 million.
Furthermore, J.P. Morgan Chase arranged a $500 million debt facility for the venture which intends to produce between four to seven movies a year, as well as television shows and digital content.
The new funding comes in great timing for DreamWorks as it has been running on short capital as of late. This year, it released only one film, that being the recent hit Bridge of Spies, which starred Tom Hanks and was directed by Spielberg.
Amblin Partners will release family friendly films with the Amblin brand, whereas adult fare will be released under the DreamWorks label and movies with social-justice elements will be under the Participant label. Moreover, Entertainment One will release Amblin Partners films in foreign countries, including Australia, Spain, and the U.K.
“This financing makes a significant difference,” said Spielberg of the new venture.
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