Los Angeles Business Journal

DreamWorks Forms Joint Venture with Chinese Companies

By Deborah Crowe Friday, February 17, 2012

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. on Friday announced a joint venture with Chinese media and investment partners to create Oriental DreamWorks, a China-focused family entertainment company.

The Glendale animation film company said that it will built a production studio in Shanghai with backing from China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. The deal was announced in conjunction with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s stop in Los Angeles as he wrapped up a trip to the United States.

Oriental DreamWorks is expected to launch later this year, and will develop and produce Chinese animated and live-action content for distribution within China and around the world. The company hopes to follow a Walt Disney Co. model, creating live entertainment events, theme parks, mobile, online, interactive games and consumer products.

“We are incredibly proud to establish Oriental DreamWorks … in this groundbreaking and historic alliance to create the leading Chinese-branded family entertainment company,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. “Together with our partners in China, we look forward to building a first-of-its-kind enterprise to locally conceive, produce and distribute high-quality creative content and family entertainment experiences – not only for the people of China but also for related export markets.”

The Chinese companies will own about 55 percent of the new studio, and Dreamworks Animation will own about 45 percent. It initially will be funded with cash and intellectual property valued at $330 million, the companies said.

DreamWorks Animation has a good reputation in China, with its “Kung Fu Panda” films breaking box office records. The logo of Oriental DreamWorks features a panda holding a fishing pole while sitting on a red crescent moon, replacing a boy fishing on a white moon as seen in the traditional Dreamworks logo.

Shares closed up 18 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $19.53 on the Nasdaq.