Chinese billionaire sells most of his stake in AMC
Another American asset, legendary entertainment, weighs on financial options
Dalin Wanda Group has sold most of its stakes in the AMC Entertainment movie chain, marking a dramatic step back from Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s bold Hollywood ambitions.
Wanda sold nearly $ 426.9 million in AMC shares over the past week, reducing its stake in the theater chain to just 0.002%, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.
The Chinese investor has held a controlling stake in the exhibition giant since a $ 2.6 billion deal in 2012 that at the time was the largest overseas acquisition by a private Chinese company. The Beijing-based group began cutting its stake in AMC in 2018 and in March of this year it sold 15.6 million shares for $ 220 million.
Another of Wanda’s entertainment titles, Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind the Godzilla vs. Kong, Pacific Rim and Detective Pikachu films, explores his financial options, according to several people familiar with the subject.
The company has had exploratory talks with Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) on the possibility of going public. Discussions are preliminary, the sources say, and cannot lead to any agreement. Insiders insist the studio is not in financial difficulty and is profitable with a lot of cash on hand.
Yet legendary CEO Josh Grode looks to capitalize on a moment of opportunity after Godzilla set a pandemic global box office record of $ 422.7 million, while capturing the buzz around another big-budget sci-fi epic, Dune, debuts in October. A legendary spokesperson declined to comment.
Bloomberg previously reported that Legendary tapped investment bank LionTree to research possible deals.
The Wanda Group took control of Legendary in 2016 in a $ 3.5 billion deal. At the time, Wanda chairman Wang had taken a keen interest in Hollywood, having invested in AMC and negotiated a billion dollar deal to buy Dick Clark Productions, producer of a number of awards, including the Golden Globes, in a deal that ultimately came to fruition. unraveled in 2017.
Wanda’s investments in Hollywood were part of a renewed interest from Chinese investors. Billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group formed a $ 300 million film fund with partner Wuhu Gopher Asset Management in 2016, and Tencent took a minority stake in Skydance Media, a production company founded by billionaire son David Ellison. Larry Ellison Software. Since then, the glamor has faded as China has emerged as the world’s largest film market, overtaking the United States in terms of ticket sales.
Wang lost assets as he sought to reduce Wanda’s debt and straighten out his real estate and entertainment empire. He sold Wanda’s hotel and tourism portfolio for more than $ 9 billion in 2017, then sold his 17% stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid a year later.
Once China’s richest person, Wang’s net worth has grown from over $ 31 billion in 2017 to $ 14.7 billion today, per Forbes estimates. It’s unclear whether Wang would seek to reduce his stake in Legendary if the company went public.
Forbes editor Jennifer Wang contributed to this story