Tuesday, 12 January 2016

China's Wanda Group Acquires Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 Billion

The Chinese real estate and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has acquired the Hollywood production company Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, the two companies announced Monday in Beijing.

Legendary is known for producing high-profile genre movies like Godzilla, The Dark Knight Rises, Clash of the Titans, and Man of Steel, while Wanda is, among other things, one of the world’s largest cinema chain operators. The company has been pushing to diversify from its core real estate business since its acquisition of North America's second-largest cinema chain, AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion in 2012.

According to Wanda, the deal represents “China’s largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date.”

In a statement that the company, the chairman of Wanda Group, Wang Jianlin said its businesses “will encompass the full scope of film production, exhibition and distribution, enhancing Wanda’s core competitiveness and amplifying our voice in the global film market.”

It could be recalled that Wanda Group installed former Microsoft and News Corp. executive Jack Gao as the head of its revamped film unit, spanning exhibition subsidiary Wanda Cinema Line; its movie production business, Wanda Pictures; and a growing distribution wing, Wuzhou Film Distribution.

Thomas Tull founded Legendary Entertainment after raising $500 million from private equity firms. It was one of the first companies of its kind to pair major motion picture production with major Wall Street private equity and hedge fund investors, including ABRY Partners, AIG Direct Investments, Bank of America Capital Investors, Columbia Capital, Falcon Investment Advisors, and M/C Venture Partners.

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