DreamWorks Nears Rich Financing Deal With Participant Media (Exclusive)

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Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll

Steven Spielberg's company has worked with Jeff Skoll's Participant on a number of films, including 'Lincoln' and 'The Help.'

Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios is close to a deal to partner with billionaire e-Bay co-founder Jeff Skoll's Participant Media, providing DreamWorks with a major cash infusion, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The pact, which one source believes totals $200 million or more, comes at a crucial time for both companies. India's Reliance Entertainment, which has bankrolled DreamWorks, is unlikely to invest more money in the company, while Stacey Snider vacated her job as DreamWorks co-chairman/CEO for a top post at 20th Century Fox last fall. Michael Wright now is running DreamWorks, which has a film distribution deal with Disney and operates a separate television company.  

Participant has been looking to reinvent itself lately. Earlier this month, CEO Jim Berk resigned from the company following reports that Skoll wasn't happy with his leadership. Skoll has taken over the chairman's post on an interim basis. The company, launched by Skoll in 2004 with a duel mission of making money and inspiring social change through entertainment, already has partnered with DreamWorks to co-finance a slew of titles, including The Help, The Fifth Estate and Lincoln. And the two companies are currently in post-produciton on the Spielberg-directed Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, which is set to hit theaters this fall.

DreamWorks and Participant declined to comment.

In recent weeks, Disney announced it is co-financing Spielberg's next directing gig, The BFG, which will go out under the Disney banner and Spielberg's Amblin label, but it is unclear whether Disney will renew its distribution and marketing deal with DreamWorks after the current pact expires in 2016.

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