News Corp acquires stake in Chinese movie distributor Bona Film

News Corp, owned by embattled media baron Rupert Murdoch, today agreed to buy a stake in Chinese movie distributor Bona Film Group Ltd, in order to expand into China's booming movie market.

The New York-based media company will acquire a 19.9-per cent stake in Nasdaq-listed Bona Film from founder and CEO Yu Dong, Bona said in a statement without disclosing the financial terms of the deal.

Bona is the largest privately owned film distributor in China, with an integrated business model encompassing film distribution, film production, film exhibition and talent representation.

Bona distributes films to Europe, China, Korea, Southeast Asia and the US, invests and produces movies in a variety of genres, owns and operates 12 movie theatres and manages a range of talented and popular Chinese artists.

With a market capitalisation of about $392 million, had in 2010 raised $100 million through an initial public offerings on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

''We are thrilled to receive this strategic investment from News Corporation,'' said Dong Yu. ''Since our IPO in 2010, we have developed our business significantly and we believe now is the time to diversify our ownership structure by introducing select strategic investors. This is an exciting period of growth for China's film industry, and we look forward to exploring the international commercial opportunities for Chinese films with our new partner.''

''One of Bona's unique advantages is its vertically-integrated business model, which differentiates the company from other film distributors in China,'' said Dr. Jack Gao, SVP, News Corporation & CEO, News Corporation China Investments.

''China's film market is growing at a rapid pace, positioning the country to be the second largest film market following the United States, and Bona's market leadership, compelling value proposition and tremendous growth potential make this an attractive opportunity for News Corporation.''