Stephen M. Silverman
January 27, 2005 02:00 PM

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have taken total control of their business empire, a reputed $1 billion company that deals with everything from their videos to their clothing line, after acquiring interest in the Dualstar Entertainment Group formally held by their longtime partner, Robert Thorne.

“Both sides are happy with the outcome,” says Mary-Kate and Ashley s publicist, Michael Pagnotta, adding that the two will assume stronger roles as managers seeking out new markets and product lines. Dualstar s current output consists of entertainment, fashion, health, beauty and other consumer goods.

Pagnotta also says that their roles at Dualstar are not expected to take away from the Olsens s current studies at New York University.

“We are very thankful that we are able to enjoy our college experience, run a business, and live our lives,” Mary-Kate adds in a statement.

Last week, PEOPLE reported that the 18-year-old twins, who had been rooming together, are spending their second semester in their own individual digs. Mary-Kate moved out of the pair’s three-bedroom Tribeca apartment and into a spacious loft in Soho, just in time for the beginning of school this past Tuesday.

Renovations of the penthouse apartment they bought together at Morton Square in Manhattan’s trendy West Village were taking longer than expected, and the new place still won’t be ready before school is out.

While Pagnotta declined to discuss the Olsens s living arrangements, he did shoot down tabloid reports suggesting that there’s a rift between the sisters.

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