Wanda Cinema Line Corp, China's biggest cinema operator, yesterday said that it plans to buy movie-making affiliate Wanda Media for 37.2 billion yuan ($5.7 billion) in cash and stock.
The move comes four months after Wanda Cinema's parent Dalian Wanda Group acquired Hollywood movie studio Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion. (See: China's Dalian Wanda to buy Hollywood movie studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 bn)
Wanda Cinema said in a filing with the Shenzhen stock exchange that it plans to acquire Wanda Media, the current owner of Legendary Pictures and also raise up to 8 billion yuan in a private placement of shares to help fund the building of theaters and boost working capital.
"The completed transaction will help the listed company set a global strategy in consolidating film assets at home and abroad," it said in the filing.
Beijing-based Wanda Group, owned by the country's richest man, Wang Jianlin, 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.
In 2015, the company had assets of 634 billion yuan and revenues of 290.16 billion yuan.
By 2020, Wanda Group aims to become a world class multinational corporation with assets of $200 billion, market capitalisation of $200 billion, revenue of $100 billion and net profits of $10 billion.
It first expanded in the US in 2012 by buying AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, North America's second-largest cinema chain, from private equity firms Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital, the Carlyle Group, CCMP Capital Advisors and Spectrum Equity Investors, for $2.6 billion.
Earlier this week, ESPN reported that Dalian Wanda is the front-runner in a four-way race to buy the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the top professional league for mixed martial arts, for more than $4 billion.