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22 February 2024

Tatweer set to take stake in DreamWorks

By Yazad Darasha



Tatweer, a member of Dubai Holding, will take a “reasonable amount” of shareholding in DreamWorks Animation SKG and build the world’s first entertainment complex themed around DreamWorks characters, a senior executive said in Dubai on Saturday.

The two firms have forged a partnership on a Dh2.8 billion project, that includes a Dh1.8bn themed entertainment park and a Dh1bn leisure and tourism component with hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and retail oulets – all in Dubailand.

“We will acquire a reasonable amount of equity in DreamWorks,” Mohammed Al Habbai, Vice-President of Entertainment and Leisure at Tatweer, who is also the Chief Executive of Dubailand, told Emirates Business. He declined to reveal the size of the shareholding or its cost.

The DreamWorks share closed at $22.06 on Friday in New York trading, close to its 52-week low of $21.55, according to Reuters data.

A highlight of the alliance will be the creation of the world’s first DreamWorks Animation-branded theme park in Dubai.

The venture will use characters from DreamWorks films, including Shrek, the upcoming Kung Fu Panda and others, to create adventures and attractions.

“We are currently at the design stage of the project,” Al Habbai said. “Work will begin by the end of this year and the whole tourism, entertainment and leisure complex will be open to the public by 2012.”

The first stage of development will, however, be the hotel, restaurant and coffee shop initiative, which Al Habbai expects to be ready by 2010. “These too will be themed around DreamWorks characters. They will provide a unique experience through the use of innovative media and creative storytelling,” he said.

Saeed Al Muntafiq, Executive Chairman of Tatweer, said in a statement announcing the partnership: “It demonstrates our dedication to deliver on the tourism objectives of Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“As the owner and developer of the three-billion square foot Dubailand, which hosts some of the world’s most enchanting entertainment concepts, Tatweer has become a leader in bringing landmark projects to Dubai, including Bawadi, Tiger Woods Dubai and the world’s best theme parks. DreamWorks’s global reputation in character creation and its strong character portfolio will add further value to our offering, providing an enhanced experience to visitors and tourists.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, said: “We are thrilled to bring the first DreamWorks Animation theme park to Dubai through our alliance with Tatweer for Dubailand. This relationship will allow us to create an exciting destination where families and tourists will enjoy the unique opportunity to interact with DreamWorks branded content within Dubailand.”