China's Dalian Wanda to buy Hollywood movie studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 bn

Chinese real estate giant Dalian Wanda Group, controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, yesterday struck a deal to buy Hollywood movie studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in cash.

Wanda said that the deal is China's largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date.

The move comes nearly four years after the Chinese conglomerate acquired Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment in a deal valued at $2.6 billion, in order to create the world's biggest cinema chain.

Beijing-based Wanda Group is the largest operator of theatres in China with a portfolio that includes over 400 theatres and over 6,000 screens as well as large-scale stage show, film production and distribution, entertainment chains and Chinese calligraphy and painting collections.

The group operates five major businesses, including commercial properties, luxury hotels, tourism investment, cultural industries and department stores. It operates 125 Wanda Plazas, 81 hotels, including 68 five-star hotels, and 99 department stores nationwide.

Legendary Entertainment is a leading film production company that owns film, television, digital and comics divisions. The studio has many of the world's blockbusters, including the Batman trilogy, Inception, The Hangover, Jurassic World, 300: Rise of an Empire, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, among others

Legendary's film productions grossed more than $12 billion worldwide at the box office. Upcoming releases include Warcraft, based on Blizzard Entertainment's award-winning Universe, and The Great Wall, which is set to be the largest film to be shot entirely in China for global distribution.

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, said, ''The acquisition of Legendary will make Wanda Film Holdings Company the highest revenue-generating film company in the world, increasing Wanda's presence in China and the US, the world's two largest markets.''

''Wanda's 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,'' he added.

Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary, said, ''Together, Wanda and Legendary will create a completely new international entertainment company. There is an ever growing demand for quality entertainment content worldwide, particularly in China, and we will combine our respective strengths to bring an even better entertainment experience to the world's audiences.''