Industry & Business

Dalian Wanda buys Legendary Entertainment for $3.5bn

Dalian Wanda buys Legendary Entertainment for $3.5bn

January 12
12:52 2016

wang-jianlinChinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has acquired US film studio Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion.

The deal will turning the group’s chairman into a Hollywood movie mogul as China’s richest man steps up a drive to diversify his business empire overseas. Wanda confirmed the deal at a news conference in Beijing.

Chairman Wang Jianlin said he plans to package Legendary, producer of hits like “Jurassic World”, with his company’s existing movie production assets in China and sell shares in the merged operation in an initial public offering.

The executive gave no further details on the IPO plan, but said was acquiring Legendary Entertainment for both intellectual property reasons and the studio’s movies.

The deal – what Wanda said was its “largest culture acquisition overseas” – comes as Wang accelerates a drive to diversify a giant with 2015 revenue of $44 billion away from its core, but slowing domestic property operations.

With deals to buy into everything from financial services to Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid, Wanda said earler this week that its revenue rose 19% last year.

Wanda is already the world’s biggest cinema operator, having bought AMC Entertainment Holdings, North America’s second-largest cinema chain, for $2.6 billion in 2012.

It owns Australian cinema chain Hoyt’s Group, and Wanda Cinema Line, the group’s domestically listed firm, is the biggest theatre operator in China.

Under the deal, Wanda said it will buy an unspecified majority stake in Legendary. As part of the transaction, Legendary’s founder and CEO Thomas Tull will continue to head up the movie maker.

Founded in 2000, Legendary has made hits such as “The Dark Knight” and “Man of Steel”, as well as “The Hangover” film franchise.

Legendary generally provides half the financing for movies whose budgets can run up to $200m or more. It also has an agreement with China Film Co, the largest and most influential film company in China, to co-produce movies.

Dalian Wanda is a Chinese conglomerate and China’s “biggest private property developer” and the world’s largest cinema chain operator, owning Wanda Cinemas, AMC Entertainment and the Hoyts Group. The group employs over 110,000 people.

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