Daily Management Review

China Tycoon's Firm Buys Film Studio Legendary for $3.5 billion to Become Global Entertainment Player


China Tycoon's Firm Buys Film Studio Legendary for $3.5 billion to Become Global Entertainment Player
As China's richest man steps up a drive to diversify his business empire overseas, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has bought U.S. film studio Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion. The deal has turned the company chairman into a Hollywood movie mogul.
The takeover would result in a new package where Legendary would be clubbed with existing movie production assets in China and sell shares in the merged operation in an initial public offering, said Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin  in a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
Legend was behind hits like the "Jurassic World".
Experts see this deal as a sign of China’s growing power in the global movie world as the move makes Wanda the first Chinese firm to own a major Hollywood studio.
The Chinese company said that Legendary Entertainment was being acquired for both intellectual property reasons and the studio's movies. However no further details were given about the IPO plan.
"Wanda Cinema already has made tremendous development in China, but it isn't enough. Movies are global, and our company certainly wants to add our voice to the world film market," said Wang, whose personal wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine to be about $27 billion.
As Wang accelerates a drive to diversify a giant with 2015 revenue of $44 billion away from its core, but slowing domestic property operations, the deal is Wanda's biggest overseas acquisition ever.
The groups’ revenue rose 19 percent last year with deals to buy into everything from financial services to Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid.
An unspecified majority stake in Legendary would be bought by the Chinese group under the deal, Wanda said. Legendary's founder and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Tull will continue to head up the movie maker as part of the transaction.
Wanda is already the world's biggest movie theater operator, having bought AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, North America's second-largest cinema chain, for $2.6 billion in 2012. It was funded in Dalian, a city on China's northeast coast, and now based in Beijing. Wanda Cinema Line Corp, the group's domestically listed firm, is the biggest theater operator in China and it also owns Australian movie theater company Hoyt's Group.
"The deal reflects the emergence of China as the next generation of Hollywood investors and represents a shift from Japan," said Dan Clivner, co-managing partner and media M&A attorney at Sidley Austin in Los Angeles.
Value to its motion picture and television production business would be added by the Legendary's intellectual property - with prospects for movie tie-in promotions, Wang said. He added that while bolstering its tourism and cultural businesses, the deal would lead to greater opportunities for joint production.
According to data from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the box office revenue in China increase 49 percent last year and exceeded 40 billion yuan ($6.1 billion) for the first time driven by China's booming movie industry, fueled by the country's growing urban middle class. ,


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