China’s Dalian Wanda buys Legendary Entertainment for up to $3.5b

China’s Dalian Wanda buys Legendary Entertainment for up to $3.5b

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Honk 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 occasion.
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.
Follow Michael Forsythe on Twitter @PekingMike. – Via Google

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