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Chow sells stake in Golden Harvest

Avex-backed Chengtian confirms buy

SANTA MONICA — Chengtian Entertainment Group, a Chinese talent agent and production outfit backed by Japan’s Avex, has confirmed that it will buy Raymond Chow’s stake in Hong Kong-based theater chain Golden Harvest (Daily Variety, Oct. 29.)

Move also signals return of Golden Harvest, once the biggest name in Chinese cinema, to production. For much of the last decade company has focused on exhibition and distribution.

Chengtian is paying HK$202 million ($26 million) for the 24% stake and convertible bonds owned by Chow and his associates.

“By combining our creativity and drive with Golden Harvest’s rich experience and platform in the Asian film market we will raise our group’s film business to a higher level,” Chengtian founder Wu Kebo said. “Chengtian and Golden Harvest are planning to produce not less than 20 films a year in the future.”

For the year to June, company announced net profits of $12.5 million, compared with $673,000 in 2006. But total included a $15 million boost from the sale of its stake in the Golden Village cinema circuit in Malaysia.

Golden Harvest’s remaining substantial shareholders include billionaire Li Ka-shing with 17%, EMI and Norman Cheng Tung-hon with 12% and Jackie Chan with 5%.

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