The man who wants to take Hollywood to China

The man who wants to take Hollywood to China

Real estate and leisure conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co expects to seal  billion-greenback film-associated offers in the United States this year, chairman Wang Jianlin said on Tuesday, as China’s richest guy steps up his push into Hollywood.

After finishing the purchase of  non-production film groups – each well worth above $1 billion – Dalian Wanda’s subsequent goal would be a so-known as “Big Six” movie studio, Wang instructed Reuters in an exclusive interview.

“My intention is to buy Hollywood groups and bring their generation and capability to China,” Wang stated.

He declined to difficult on the two deals inside the pipeline, which would further bolster Wanda’s motion photograph empire.

In January, Wang splashed $three.5 billion to buy a controlling stake in U.S. Movie studio Legendary Entertainment, in the back of hits inclusive of “Jurassic World”, making Wanda the primary Chinese company to very own a chief Hollywood studio.

Dalian Wanda, which become added to the Fortune Global 500 list this year, targets to triple revenue from its cultural division, led by amusement, sports and tourism, to a hundred and fifty billion yuan ($22.6 billion) by way of 2020.

Reuters reported last month that Wanda has held talks with Viacom Inc approximately acquiring its stake in Paramount Pictures, one in all Hollywood’s “Big Six” studios that also include Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, Universal Pictures and Columbia.

“We are involved no longer handiest in Paramount, but they all. If one of the Big Six would be willing to be sold to us, we would be fascinated,” Wang stated.

“Only the six are real international movie organizations, at the same time as the relaxation are not. If we are to build a actual movie empire, this is a important step.”

Dalian Wanda is leading a slew of Chinese firms which are making an investment in Hollywood. They include Fosun International, which has invested in Studio 8, a manufacturing enterprise commenced by way of former Warner Brothers govt Jeff Robinov, and Huayi Brothers Media Corp, that is generating movies with STX Entertainment, a studio invested in through Chinese non-public equity business enterprise Hony Capital.

Dalian Wanda might additionally start co-investing in global blockbusters next yr, Wang brought.

A display near you

The Chinese conglomerate, which began as a property developer in the northeastern metropolis of Dalian, was additionally seeking to make bigger the sector’s largest motion picture theater community, Wang said.

Following the of completion of its acquisitions of London-based totally Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group and Carmike Cinemas Inc within the United States, Dalian Wanda would manipulate 15 percent of worldwide container workplace revenues, Wang stated, and might reach its purpose of controlling 20 percent earlier than its target of 2020.

“My goal is to shop for Hollywood organizations and bring their generation and capability to China,” Wang Jianlin stated.Photo: Reuters

Wang, who has also sold Swiss sports advertising and marketing firm Infront Sports & Media AG and World Triathlon Corp, owner of the “Ironman” franchise, said he became generally interested by acquiring enjoyment and sports activities organizations inside the United States and Europe.

“If the goal organisation fits our urge for food, there may be no upper restrict for budgeting,” he said.

But he suggested that too many buyers had been rushing into the “hot” film market.

“Most of the money invested in China, or even the worldwide movie enterprise, is silly money. Only a little is smart money,” he stated.

“As China’s movie industry increase slows to below 20 percent, or even 10 percentage, eight percentage this yr, some may be washed out. It’s like Warren Buffett stated, ‘you handiest find out who's swimming naked whilst the tide goes out’.”

IPO or backdoor list

Separately, Wang stated that Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co, Wanda’s actual estate flagship, would re-listing on the Shanghai stock alternate both via an preliminary public supplying (IPO) or a backdoor list.

Shareholders of the Hong Kong-listed company last week accredited a purchase-out offer that might see the company privatized.

The organization said in advance this month it deliberate to de-list from the Hong Kong inventory trade on Sept. 20.

Wang stated both options were at the desk for the planned Shanghai re-listing. Approval for an IPO could take  or three years, at the same time as a backdoor list could require extra than a yr, he brought.

Mainland-listed corporations usually command higher valuations than the ones traded in Hong Kong, helped via a large pool of retail investors.

But Wang said the “core trouble” that brought about the de-listing plan became now not the low valuation of the company’s Hong Kong shares, but the loss of liquidity.

“We simplest indexed 14 percent of the enterprise in Hong Kong, because of this 86 percentage of stocks are neither liquid nor will be pledged as collateral,” Wang said. “That’s now not a actual listed business enterprise.”