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DreamWorks Negotiating Move to NBC Universal: NYT

Reuters
Sunday, 18 Nov 2007 | 12:17 PM ET

DreamWorks principals David Geffen and Steven Spielberg have been negotiating to move their studio to NBC Universal from Paramount Pictures, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Citing people close to the talks who requested anonymity, the Times said the discussions had been going on since late summer but had hit a stumbling block over financing.

The talks come at a time of relatively few options for DreamWorks, which was acquired by Paramount Pictures and its corporate parent, Viacom, in 2005 for $1.6 billion but has seen its relationship with its new owners sour in recent months.

Paramount rivals Warner Bros and the Walt Disney have both nixed the idea of taking on DreamWorks, while News Corp executives told the Times there had been a meeting with DreamWorks but no negotiations were in progress.

Viacom executives also said there were no talks currently with DreamWorks, although a Viacom spokesman declined to comment, and Geffen refused to discuss negotiations, the Times said.

But Spielberg, who is in post-production on another widely anticipated "Indiana Jones" film for Paramount, has expressed a clear desire for a deal with NBC Universal, which is controlled by General Electric, the report said, citing people involved in the negotiations.

Geffen plans to meet with GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt next week, with Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal's president and chief executive, and Universal Studios President Ron Meyer also expected to attend, the newspaper reported.

DreamWorks Animation , a separate publicly held studio run by Jeffrey Katzenberg, has its own deal to have its movies distributed by Paramount through 2012 and would thus be unaffected by the NBC Universal talks, the Times said.

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