Reliance Entertainment to sign $600-million deal with Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios

Anil Ambani Anil Ambani doesn't believe in doing things the small way, and this approach is reflected not only in the aggressive expansion plans of his flagship company Reliance Communications, but also smaller entities like Reliance Big Entertainment (See: Reliance Big Entertainment ventures into Hollywood; lines up 69 films in 9 languages). After tying up with a host of A-list actors in Hollywood, Reliance Big Entertainment has now enlisted the support of the biggest A-lister of them all – Steven Spielberg.

According to recent media reports, the Anil Ambani group company is close to a deal with Spielberg's DreamWorks Movie Studios to create a new joint venture for making movies. According to the terms of the agreement, Reliance Entertainment would provide DreamWorks with up to $600m in equity and would get a large stake in the new company.

Earlier, Reliance Big Entertainment had signed deals with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Productions, Jim Carrey's JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus's 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment and Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures.

DreamWorks, LLC, also known as DreamWorks Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, or DreamWorks Studios, is a major American film studio that develops, produces, and distributes films, video games, and television programming. It has produced or distributed more than ten films with box-office grosses totalling more than $100 million each. Some of its recent hits are ''Shrek 2'', ''Dreamgirls" and "Transformers."

DreamWorks began in 1994 as an ambitious attempt by media moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen (forming the SKG present on the bottom of the DreamWorks logo) to create a new Hollywood studio. Then, in December 2005, the founders agreed to sell the studio to Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures. The sale was completed in February 2006 for $1.6 billion.

But the relationship has been tense with DreamWorks indicating it may leave when the contracts of Spielberg and Geffen expire later this year. Things didn't improve when last September Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman said the departure of Spielberg would be "completely immaterial" to his company.

The Reliance deal may well provide Spielberg and company an exit opportunity, marking the second-such high-profile departure since Tom Cruise left the Viacom fold two years ago. However, all the parties concerned in the deal have declined to comment.