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Soros Acquires DreamWorks Library

Date: Sunday, March 19, 2006
Author: HFN Daily Report

Hedge fund king George Soros is leading a group acquiring the film library of DreamWorks Studios.

Soros Strategic Partners and Dune Entertainment will buy the rights to all 59 DreamWorks live action films released through mid-September of last year. The deal values the library at $900 million, according to an announcement by Viacom.

Dune Entertainment is an affiliate of Dune Capital Management, which was spun off from Soros Fund Management in 2004.

Last December, Viacom's Paramount Pictures agreed to buy DreamWorks for $1.6 billion. It said at the time it would help pay for the deal by selling the DreamWorks film library.

Under the terms of the deal, Viacom will retain ownership of music publishing and certain other rights relating to the library, including sequel and merchandising rights, and the company will retain a minority stake in the library. Viacom's Paramount will distribute the library through an exclusive five-year agreement that will automatically renew if Soros retains ownership.

Viacom will have the right to buy, and Soros and Dune will have the right to sell, the library back after five years at fair market value.

The deal is expected to close in April.

Viacom recently spun off its broadcasting and publishing assets as CBS Corp. following the weak performance of its stock. Viacom retains Paramount as well as cable channels like MTV and Comedy Central, Famous Music and other assets.