Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dalian Wanda of China Buys Legendary Entertainment for Up to $3.5 Billion

By MICHAEL FORSYTHE JAN. 12, 2016, New York Times [original article contains links]

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HONG KONG — The Dalian Wanda Group, a politically powerful property and
entertainment company in China, said on Tuesday that it was buying
Legendary Entertainment, one of Hollywood’s biggest movie production
companies, for as much as $3.5 billion.

The deal, announced in Beijing, is one of the biggest purchases of an
American company by a Chinese company. It deepens Wanda’s investment in
the global movie business, joining its cinema chains with a company that
produces blockbuster-­style movies that include “Pacific Rim,” “Man of Steel”
and “Jurassic World.”

The acquisition is the latest in a series of spectacular moves into the
entertainment business by Wang Jianlin, China’s wealthiest man, a former
soldier and a member of the Communist Party. In 2012 Wanda purchased
AMC Theaters, the American cinema chain, for $2.6 billion, and in 2013 it
began construction of a mammoth $8.2 billion studio complex in eastern
China, flying in stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and John Travolta to mark the

In a statement, Wanda said that the purchase would help Legendary
“increase its market opportunities” in China’s movie market, where
government censors block some films from entering and strict quotas limit the
number of Hollywood films that can be shown each year. Wanda owns China’s
biggest cinema chain in addition to AMC, whose screens are mostly in the
United States. News of the possible purchase was first reported last week.

Relatives and business associates of four current or former members of
the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo, including the older sister and
brother-in­-law of President Xi Jinping, acquired stakes in two of
Mr. Wang’s companies before share sales in late 2014 and early
 2015. They collectively owned shares that were worth more than
 $1.5 billion in April of last year.

Mr. Wang, speaking at Harvard University in October, said Mr. Xi’s
relatives sold their stake before his flagship company’s initial public
offering in December 2014, though he offered no details or documentation.

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