Hong Kong investment to aid WB pix

Hong Kong-based conglomerate New World Development Co. Ltd. has invested $45 million in Legendary Pictures.

New World, established in 1970, has an asset value of more than $25 billion and core businesses including property, hotel, infrastructure, service and department stores.

A Legendary rep confirmed the investment Friday but provided no other details. Variety reported two weeks ago that Legendary topper Thomas Tull had started talks with investors to raise $600 million to $900 million through banks, other institutional lenders and hedge funds as part of a new credit line that would run through 2016. Lead banks are said to include JPMorgan, with $200 million likely to come from institutional investors.

Legendary Pictures’ current credit line expires in 2013, the same year that its current distribution and financing arrangement with Warner Bros. is set to end.

New funds would be used to continue co-financing a slate of high-profile pics at Warner Bros. that include the “Hangover” sequel, Superman reboot “Man of Steel,” “Jack the Giant Killer” and “The Seventh Son.” Legendary recently attracted venture capitalist Jim Breyer to purchase $40 million in shares from an existing shareholder.

In October, Tull teamed with Fidelity Investments and Fortress Investment Group to buy out shares held by an original group of investors in the company, a move that enabled the chairman to become Legendary’s largest shareholder.

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