It's been a long time in coming -- Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios just announced it completed its first phase of financing, allowing the studio co-run by Stacey Snider to start production. The big news this afternoon: J.P. Morgan Securities finalized the syndicaction of $325 million in senior debt, which India's Reliance Big Entertainment already commited to match. On top of that $650 million, Disney, which is handling distribution and marketing for Dreamworks films -- six a year -- is contributing up to $175 million in additional financing.
After securing a Distribution deal with Disney in February, DreamWorks was hoping to complete this phase of its financing by mid-April. With the credit markets incredibly tight this became impossible. The fact that the most proven producer and director in Hollywood, Spielberg, couldn't raise $325 million in credit was a testatment to just how hard it was to raise financing. The studio was confident it would close financing, but reluctant to announce anything until every last signature were all final, wary of jumping the gun after such a drawn-out financing process. J.P. Morgan led the following lenders: Bank of America, City National, Wells Fargo, Union Bank of California, SunTrust, California Bank & Trust, and Israeal Discount Bank. Now that the deal is complete, can we take this as an indiation that credit markets have eased?
This is a key next step for the Hollywood legend and his respected producing partner Snider, who have been quietly working on production while the money came through. Next up "Dinner for Shmucks" will go into production, taking advantage of a California tax credit. And we can expect a remake of "Harvey" to be another big film from the director, out in 2010.
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