Dolby takes over Oscars venue name

The Hollywood venue that hosts the annual Oscars show was renamed the Dolby Theatre on Tuesday, after the audio pioneer gained naming rights previously held by bankrupt camera company Kodak.

Kodak pulled out weeks before this year's Academy Awards show in February, and talks have been ongoing to find a new backer for the venue, next to the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Britain-founded, California-based audio technology pioneer Dolby announced a deal with the CIM Group, which owns the Hollywood & Highland Center of which the Oscars venue is part, to put its name on the venue for the next 20 years.

"Dolby is a brand recognized around the world for creating the best, most life-like entertainment sound experiences in any environment," said Dolby Laboratories chief Kevin Yeaman.

"This partnership with CIM allows the Dolby Theatre to be not only the world-stage for the Academy Awards, but for Dolby innovations for decades to come," he added.

CIM Group co-founder Shaul Kuba added: "Dolby Laboratories has a long history in Hollywood and has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry.

"It is a respected international brand and technology innovator. We are proud to welcome them as our partner on the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center," he said.

A bankruptcy court in February approved Kodak's request to cancel its contract with the until-then Kodak Theatre, ruling that it was "in the best interests of the debtors, their estates, their creditors and other parties."

The contract between Eastman Kodak and theater owner CIM was valued at $72 million -- $3.6 million per year for 20 years.

The theater, inaugurated in November 2001 with seating for 3,332, has hosted the Academy Awards since 2002.

Kodak, an iconic American firm that introduced generations of consumers to mass-market cameras, filed for bankruptcy in January.

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