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Legendary-Wanda Deal Approved by U.S. Commerce Department

The $3.5 billion move by China’s Dalian Wanda group to acquire leading Hollywood producer Legendary Entertainment has received the green light from the U.S. Commerce Department.

The deal was formally unveiled in Beijing less than a month ago by Wanda’s Wang Jianglin and Legendary’s Thomas Tull.

It is subject to ongoing regulatory scrutiny within China, from both the National Development and Reform Commission and from the Ministry of Commerce.

“It is quite a feat for an acquisition to be approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce in such a short time,” Wanda said in a statement on Tuesday. “This reflects the positive attitude that the U.S. government has towards Sino-U.S. cultural exchange.

Wanda, which has deep roots in property development, made its first overseas move in the entertainment sphere in 2012 when it agreed to pay $2.3 billion for the AMC cinema chain. The move has been followed by other Chinese groups that have sought investments in Hollywood and by U.S. conglomerates which have looked for partners with which to enter the fast-expanding Chinese entertainment market. In financial terms, the agreement to buy Legendary is in the largest U.S.-Chinese deal to date in the entertainment industry.

Legendary has enjoyed considerable success in China with films including “Pacific Rim” and “Jurassic World” and its CEO Tull says that he has had a China vision from the time that he founded the company. Its China production offshoot, Legendary East is now in post-production on “The Great Wall,” a $150 million English- and Chinese-language action movie directed by Chin’s Zhang Yimou.

 

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