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  1. #1

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    Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Dec. 10, 2005

    Viacom near DreamWorks buy
    By Reuters

    Viacom Inc. on Friday was close to acquiring DreamWorks SKG Inc., the privately held studio co-founded by director Steven Spielberg, in a transaction that could take place as soon as this weekend, a source familiar with the plan said.

    Viacom's board of directors has approved Paramount Pictures' decision to make an offer, the source said. Details on terms and financing were not immediately available.

    DreamWorks had been in on-again, off-again talks with both Paramount and General Electric Co's NBC Universal unit, seeking $1 billion in cash and the assumption of debt.

    DreamWorks turned out a number of critically acclaimed and successful films, such as "Saving Private Ryan," but had stumbled recently with the big budget flop "The Island."

    The company also has a library of about 60 titles and a lucrative distribution deal with its publicly traded animation arm, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., which produced the blockbuster computer generated films "Shrek" and "Shrek 2."

    DreamWorks' other founders are music mogul David Geffen and former Walt Disney Co. Studios president Jeffrey Katzenberg, who now heads the animation company.

    Paramount's new chief, Brad Grey, is a former talent manager who was brought in by Viacom with a mandate to shake up the studio after several years of weak results at the box office.

    The Wall Street Journal, which first broke news of the renewed talks between Paramount and DreamWorks, reported on Friday that Paramount had "forged a deal" for the studio.

    Viacom is splitting its fast growing cable and film divisions from more mature CBS broadcast and Infinity radio businesses to appeal to different classes of investors.

    The company said it expects to complete the split by the end of 2005.
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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Paramount Buying DreamWorks
    Source: Variety
    December 10, 2005


    Paramount Pictures has struck a deal to acquire DreamWorks SKG in a pact worth $1.5-$1.6 billion beating out rival suitor NBC Universal, reports Variety. Paramount is putting up about half the purchase price with several financial partners shouldering the rest.

    Parent Viacom's board approved the transaction yesterday. A meeting today between studio head Brad Grey, 'new' Viacom CEO Tom Freston and DreamWorks SKG partner Steven Spielberg sealed the deal, says the trade.

    Paramount had explored a possible bid recently but then pulled out. The idea was tabled due to the price, plus the pending, and complex, split of parent Viacom into two separate companies. Now, the split of 'new' Viacom - which houses Paramount and MTV Networks - from CBS Corporation, is all but done. The two companies will start trading separately on January 3.

    Paramount will now have new product to pump through its newly independent foreign distribution network. A DreamWorks SKG purchase would include distribution of films from sister company DreamWorks Animation, plus DreamWorks SKG's 60-title library.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Wow what news Thanks


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    I saw the email from Variety and I had to make sure it wasn't April 1st. *Very* interesting development.

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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    This is huge. It really is interesting what will happen with these companies, I just wonder how this will effect Disney.
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    Here are a few other articles:

    a story from msnbc about the sale and why Dreamworks didn't end up working out in the end: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10415568/site/newsweek


    a Bloomberg article: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=a88Wppw7KL9g

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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Quote Originally Posted by TicTocDragon
    This is huge. It really is interesting what will happen with these companies, I just wonder how this will effect Disney.
    Yes, this is huge. I believe Katzenberg in particular will use this opportunity to return to his former home at Paramount now armed with a full studio lot (as opposed to a nice "campus" environment in Glendale) and push their animation to fullest. They will also live there with Nickelodeon Films to push from their end. This also puts Spielberg on the lot w/ his buddy Tom, as Cruise/Wagner his production company is housed there.
    Brad Grey is a smart guy and just starting to show what and why he's running the show now on Melrose Avenue. If everyone can play nice, they will not only resurrect Paramount fully but extend DreamWorks even further than the millionaire trio managed to do.

    Dec. 10, 2005
    DreamWorks goes to Paramount in $1.6 billion deal
    By Staff and wire reports

    Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures unit reportedly has agreed to buy DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion, including the assumption of about $400 million in debt.

    Viacom CEO Tom Freston, Paramount chairman Brad Grey, and DreamWorks founders Steven Spielberg and David Geffen agreed on the acquisition at a meeting Friday after DreamWorks ended talks with NBC Universal, the New York Times reported Saturday.

    Viacom agreed to the deal, after rejecting a request by Paramount to open talks earlier this year, because more than half the money will come from private-equity investors, spreading the risk. Viacom will pay $600 million to $700 million with private-equity investors paying $800 million to $1 billion, the New York Times said, citing an executive.

    Paramount would get DreamWorks' library of about 60 films, including "Saving Private Ryan" and "Gladiator'' and the right to distribute domestically and internationally movies made by DreamWorks Animation, including "Shrek'' and "Chicken Run,'' the newspaper said.

    CM8ShowAd("Middle"); var CM8ScriptStandardClick="http://web.checkm8.com/adam/em/click/83217/cat=vnu_film_thr.Homepage"; var CM8ScriptStandardClickPrefix=CM8ScriptStandardClic k+";url="; The company also has a library of about 60 titles and a lucrative distribution deal with its publicly traded animation arm, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., which produced the blockbuster computer-generated films "Shrek" and "Shrek 2."

    The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Paramount had "forged a deal" for the studio.

    Viacom is splitting its fast growing cable and film divisions from more mature CBS broadcast and Infinity radio businesses to appeal to different classes of investors.

    The company said it expects to complete the split by the end of 2005.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd
    I believe Katzenberg in particular will use this opportunity to return to his former home at Paramount now armed with a full studio lot (as opposed to a nice "campus" environment in Glendale) and push their animation to fullest.
    I actually doubt that Katzenberg will go to Paramount as an inhouse employee. Been there, done that - why would he want to be in the corporate hierarchy there? I could maybe see him there as a producer.

    Hmmm, I have a friend of a friend who works very closely with Katzenberg. I'll have to ask what's up now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd
    This also puts Spielberg on the lot w/ his buddy Tom, as Cruise/Wagner his production company is housed there.
    I doubt that. I haven't read anything about the sale of the studio including the talent as well. Don't forget, Spielberg still has Amblin', which is based at Universal. I haven't seen any indication that he'd be willing to move to Paramount. The msnbc article talks about his films being made available to Paramount, but that doesn't mean he's moving his production company.

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    Hmmm, going to have to correct myself here. Just read a Wall Street Journal article that says Spielberg is moving to Paramount, which confuses me given Amblin'. Guess I'll have to wait for more info.

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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Quote Originally Posted by cstephens
    ***I actually doubt that Katzenberg will go to Paramount as an inhouse employee. Been there, done that - why would he want to be in the corporate hierarchy there? I could maybe see him there as a producer.

    Hmmm, I have a friend of a friend who works very closely with Katzenberg. I'll have to ask what's up now.


    **I doubt that. I haven't read anything about the sale of the studio including the talent as well. Don't forget, Spielberg still has Amblin', which is based at Universal. I haven't seen any indication that he'd be willing to move to Paramount. The msnbc article talks about his films being made available to Paramount, but that doesn't mean he's moving his production company.
    ***You'll notice I never included anything referring to "job" at Paramount,
    I wrote the post to read in much broader strokes. His involvement w/ the animation division has been such a personally driven quest. I witnessed it firsthand at the first screening of Shrek at a ShoWest a few years ago, when Katzenberg stepped onstage to introduce the film, "wearing a different set of ears than we were used to seeing him wear in the past" (Shrek ogre ears as opposed to mouse).
    He also appeared to proudly accept congrats on the numerous Disney-bashing elements in the film commented on at the post-party.

    **Thanks for correcting yourself below. I wrote just what simply made logical sense to me. BTW, Amblin' has always been an almost seperate entity, as it was throughout the DreamWorks era and will probably remain given his history w/ Universal. See post #11 http://www.micechat.com/forums/showt...ghlight=munich
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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Please Keep in mind, that Paramount bought Dreamworks SKG not Dreamworks Animation. Paramount will get to distrute the animated movie and make animated-series, but not own them. Hopefully Spielberg will starting work on projects for Paramount Parks like he did with Universal Studios.

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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    ^thanks for the distribution distinction!
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    Apparently, there's another article (maybe in the L.A. Times?) that says he won't be moving offices to Paramount. Other information I've received is saying the same thing, that while Paramount has rights to his films, his physical office location will remain at Universal. I remember hearing from a friend who worked at Dreamworks that he was rarely at their offices there anyway. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Quote Originally Posted by cstephens
    Apparently, there's another article (maybe in the L.A. Times?) that says he won't be moving offices to Paramount. Other information I've received is saying the same thing, that while Paramount has rights to his films, his physical office location will remain at Universal. I remember hearing from a friend who worked at Dreamworks that he was rarely at their offices there anyway. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
    That is kind of silly, because even if DreamWorks SKG didn't have offices there, isn't Spielberg's office still on Paramount's lot?
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    Re: Viacom to buy DreamWorks

    Amblin' at Universal, Paramount offices as well. Typically, studio offices and/or a bldg. when making a studio film at any given studio.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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