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Media News

Warner Bros and Abu Dhabi agree to media joint venture

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Warner Bros Entertainment has agreed with United Arab Emirates' Aldar Properties ALDR.AD and a UAE media company to set up a film and video game production firm, state-controlled Aldar said on Wednesday.

The companies, including Abu Dhabi Media Co, will also develop a theme park, hotel and cinemas in the Gulf Arab emirate, Aldar said in a statement.

“This is a multi-billion dollar transaction and it will grow as the years go by and as it expands beyond the boundaries of the UAE,” Aldar CEO Ronald Barrott told Reuters by telephone. “We will tap capital market instruments to finance the project.”

Aldar Chairman Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh said in the statement that that the project “demonstrates the depth of our commitment to building Abu Dhabi in a holistic way, bringing the best in entertainment to the communities we are creating”.

Warner Bros is a unit of Time Warner Inc TWX.N.

The planned production company will develop films in English and Arabic, and videogames that Warner Bros will distribute globally, Aldar said.

Warner Bros will also help design the theme park and hotel, with construction beginning in 2009, and manage an initial four multiplex cinemas to be built by the first quarter of 2010, Aldar said.

“It is crucial that Abu Dhabi has a position on the world stage, and that means mastering every field,” said Mohammed Khalaf al-Mazrouei, chairman of Abu Dhabi Media. “Entertainment is a massive part of Abu Dhabi and its future.”

Aldar is developing more than $50 billion of real estate projects, mainly in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East’s third-largest oil exporter, which is reaping a windfall from record oil prices.

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