Universal Pictures is in talks with Warner Bros. to sell its 45 percent stake in Oriental DreamWorks as disagreements with China Media Capital (CMC) continue, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing people with knowledge of the talks.
Universal inherited its stake when parent company Comcast acquired Jeffrey Katzenberg's DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind the Shrek and Kung Fu Panda franchises, for 3.8 billion US dollars last year.
Li Ruigang's CMC, which owns the remaining 55 percent of Oriental DreamWorks, and Universal have disagreed on the animation company's strategy, according to the Financial Times .
"We talked about changing the strategy of Oriental DreamWorks and decreasing the size of the company in order to focus more on the creative side," Li told the Financial Times. "I am focused more on China and less globally while they want to make films in China for the world. Today, the priority of Universal is a theme park in Beijing."
"It is very unlikely that Warner Bros will stem into the mix. They may just be being polite to CMC," one source told Variety.
The potential deal comes as Oriental DreamWorks struggles to maintain a foothold in the competitive animated-feature marketplace.
Its last outing, "Kung Fu Panda 3" failed to live up to expectations at the box office, and its only film currently slated for release, the Himalayan tale "Everest," is not due for release until September 2019.