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Hollywood Studios to set up Dubai facility

Los Angeles-based entertainment company Hollywood Studios International is setting up its first overseas venture in Dubai and wants to raise $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) for making movies and expanding its business in the US.

Gulf News

Dubai: Los Angeles-based entertainment company Hollywood Studios International is setting up its first overseas venture in Dubai and wants to raise $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) for making movies and expanding its business in the US.

The company is initially raising $70 million in a syndication arrangement and is holding talks with underwriters, CEO Sir Steven Saxton told Gulf News.

"Things look very positive. We have some significant commitments and we are moving forward," he said, adding the company is looking for money from individuals and companies across the GCC. "We are potentially looking at raising $500 million."

The $70 million in private placement financing will be spent on the acquisition of Inferno Distribution, a distribution company in the US with over $100 million of productions in 2006, Saxton said.

Acquisition

The company has signed a letter of intent to acquire Inferno and has completed the due diligence study for the acquisition.

Saxton said Inferno makes five movies a year, but its capacity would increase to 15 films a year with the injection of Gulf Arab money.

The money will also be used to enhance Inferno's offering of foreign sales and distribution services.

The company has begun discussions with a major management company and has simultaneously identified other potential targets for acquisition.

Hollywood Studios is in the process of becoming publicly listed in the OTC (over-the-counter) market in the US in a couple of months. "In six to 24 months, we will look at a listing on the Dubai International Financial Exchange," Saxton said.

He said a number of people have expressed their interest in becoming partners in his movie business.

He said no location has yet been decided for setting up an office but Dubai Studio City and Dubai International Financial Centre are among the places being considered.

Saxton said Hollywood Studios wants to be first the American show business firm to establish a base in the UAE.

"Dubai is like the new city of the world so there are significant opportunities for us," he added.

US company sets eyes on Chinese investments

  • Through Dubai-based networking group CEO Clubs UAE, Hollywood Studios International is also roping in Chinese investors.
  • Besides producing films, Hollywood Studios is engaged in management of stars, directors and writers.
  • Artist International, the company's management division, will represent writers, directors, actors, and models in Dubai.
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