Viacom's Paramount Pictures Hasn't Received Funds from Financing Deal with Chinese Partners

By Ben Fritz Features Dow Jones Newswires

Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures has received none of the money it is owed by two Chinese partners in a $1 billion co-financing deal signed in January, the studio's chief executive said Friday.

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Shanghai Film Group Corp. and Huahua Media in January agreed to cover 25% of the cost of every movie Paramount makes for three years. But the funds have been held up by regulatory hurdles on foreign investment imposed by the Chinese government, Paramount Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos said at a media investor conference.

"We haven't received the money we are entitled to under the deal, but have been given continued assurances they're processing or going through it," he said.

If the problems aren't resolved and the money doesn't come soon, Mr. Gianopulos said, he has "a great deal of confidence" that Paramount would be able to find new co-financing partners quickly.

Co-financing deals, under which studios share a portion of the risk and rewards of movies they make with other companies or investors, are commonly used in Hollywood as a way to help smooth the performance of the often-volatile movie business. A financing partner could be highly useful for Paramount, as it has had a number of recent box office flops and is ranked last among Hollywood's major studios for the sixth straight year.

Write to Ben Fritz at ben.fritz@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 08, 2017 15:34 ET (19:34 GMT)