China's Wanda Group buys Hollywood's Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B

BEIJING -- Wanda Group said Tuesday it is buying Hollywood's Legendary Entertainment, the maker of films such as "Batman," for $3.5 billion in the first Chinese acquisition of a major U.S.

See Full Article

film company.

Wanda, whose chairman, Wang Jianlin, is one of China's richest businesspeople, has expanded rapidly into the film industry. It bought the U.S. cinema chain AMC in 2012 and is developing an $8 billion studio complex in eastern China.

New but cash-rich Chinese companies are on a buying spree abroad in industries from finance to yacht building for assets that can speed their development at home and help them expand in global markets.

With its latest acquisition, Wanda's film businesses will include a full range of production, distribution and exhibition, Wang said in a statement. The company, headquartered in the northeastern port city of Dalian, also has interests in hotels, retailing and real estate.

Legendary's productions include the "Batman" trilogy, "Inception" and "The Hangover." The company says its movies have grossed more than $12 billion worldwide.

"Wanda will help Legendary increase its market opportunities, especially in the fast-growing China market," said Wang.

Wanda's latest purchase is the fourth-largest Chinese investment in the United States, according to Dealogic, a financial information provider. It ranks behind WH Group Ltd.'s $7 billion acquisition of pork packer Smithfield Foods in 2013, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund's 2007 purchase of a 9.9 per cent stake in Morgan Stanley for $5.6 billion and Unisplendour Corp.'s offer of $3.7 billion this year for 15 per cent of Western Digital Corp.

Global film, music and television companies see China and its increasingly prosperous population of 1.3 billion potential viewers as one of their most promising markets. Even as economic growth slows, China's consumer spending is expanding faster than that of the United States and other Western markets.

Ticket sales in China, already one of the world's biggest movie markets, rose nearly 50 per cent last year to 44 billion yuan ($6.8 billion), according to Nomura. It said in a Jan. 7 report that total revenue is forecast to rise another 25 per cent this year.

Wang, 62, ranked as China's richest businessperson last year, with a net worth of $34 billion, according to the Hurun Report, which follows China's wealthy.

Chinese companies invested $11 billion in the United States over the past year, according to data gathered by Derek Scissors, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The total since 2005 stands at $93.3 billion.

Many acquisitions abroad are aimed at obtaining technology or brands to expand the buyer's market share in China or to capture profit from foreign goods and services flowing into China.

On Monday, China's biggest chemical company, state-owned ChemChina, announced it has bought a German maker of machinery to process rubber and plastic, KraussMaffei, for $1 billion (925 million euros). It was the biggest Chinese investment to date in Germany.

In August, Wanda paid $650 million for the Florida company that operates the Ironman triathlon race, World Triathlon Corp., and said it planned to promote the growth of competitions in China. Last February, Wanda paid $1.2 billion (1 billion euros) for Swiss sports management company Infront Sports & Media.

In contrast to Western companies that cut staff after purchases, Chinese buyers keep employees and sometimes hire more because want foreign skills and experience.

Wanda said Legendary's Thomas Tull would remain chairman and chief executive, with responsibility for day-to-day operations.

"Wanda and Legendary will create a completely new international entertainment company," said Tull in the Wanda statement.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Instagram unveils new video service in challenge to YouTube

    Entertainment CBC News
    Facebook's Instagram service is loosening its restraints on video in an attempt to lure younger viewers away from YouTube when they're looking for something to watch on their smartphones. The expansion announced Wednesday, dubbed IGTV, will increase Instagram's video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes for most users. Source
  • Kevin Spacey film Billionaire Boys Club set for release

    Entertainment CBC News
    Kevin Spacey was erased from All the Money in the World and booted from House of Cards, but a movie starring the disgraced actor is going forward with a summer release. Vertical Entertainment announced that it will release Billionaire Boys Club on video-on-demand on July 17 and in theatres August 17. Source
  • Film starring Kevin Spacey to be released in August

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Kevin Spacey was erased from "All the Money in the World" and booted from "House of Cards," but a movie starring the disgraced actor is going forward with a summer release. Vertical Entertainment announced that it will release "Billionaire Boys Club" on video-on-demand on July 17 and in theatres August 17. Source
  • National Film Board funds 35 Indigenous-led projects; says more work to be done

    Entertainment CBC News
    The National Film Board of Canada says it has made gains towards fostering Indigenous talent, but there's more work to be done. The board says it backed 35 Indigenous-directed projects, representing 10 per cent of overall production spending, in the first year of its Indigenous Action Plan. Source
  • Eva Longoria gives birth to first child, a son

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Eva Longoria is a mom. The actress and husband Jose "Pepe" Baston welcomed Santiago Enrique Baston into the world on Tuesday. They say they are so grateful "for this beautiful blessing. Source
  • Kate Spade Foundation to donate $1M for suicide prevention

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Kate Spade New York has announced plans to donate US$1 million to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness causes in tribute to the company's late founder. To start, the company said Wednesday the Kate Spade New York Foundation is giving $250,000 to the Crisis Text Line , a free, 24-hour confidential text message service for people in crisis. Source
  • Teen in 'Making a Murderer' asks high court to take his case

    Entertainment CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A teenager whose case was documented in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer" wants the Supreme Court to hear his case. Brendan Dassey confessed to joining his uncle in raping and murdering a young woman. Source
  • Fox News Channel faces backlash from Hollywood creators

    Entertainment CBC News
    Fox News Channel faces a growing backlash among Hollywood creators that intensified Tuesday following Laura Ingraham's description of "zero tolerance" detention facilities for children separated from their parents as "essentially summer camps." Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan raised the possibility of no longer working with the 20th Century Fox television studio after tweeting his disgust with Ingraham's remarks. Source
  • Disney taps Frozen, Inside Out filmmakers to replace Pixar's John Lasseter

    Entertainment CBC News
    Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn says Tuesday that Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are taking over for former Disney animation and Pixar chief John Lasseter, who is departing Disney at the end of the year following misconduct allegations. Source
  • Disney ups Twenty-First Century Fox to more than US$70.3B

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The mouse is chasing the fox. Disney is upping the ante for Fox, making a US$70.3 billion counterbid for Fox's entertainment businesses following Comcast's $65 billion offer for the company. The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms. Source