Universal Pictures, the movie studio owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, is on course to offload its stake in Oriental DreamWorks, the animation group, following disagreements over strategy with one of the company’s other main backers, Li Ruigang’s China Media Capital. CMC has had preliminary talks with Warner Brothers, the Time Warner-owned studio, about replacing Universal in Oriental DreamWorks, two sources told the Financial Times. Universal and Warner declined to comment although a person with knowledge of the talks that Warner has had with CMC said it was unclear how serious Warner was in pursuing a deal. Universal inherited its 45% stake in Oriental DreamWorks, widely regarded as the flagship joint venture between Hollywood and China, when it acquired Jeffrey Katzenberg’S DreamWorks – the studio behind the Shrek and King Fu Panda films – in 2016 for $3.8bn. However, it quickly became clear that it had a different vision to Li.
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