Wanda Pictures, a film subsidiary of China’s property to entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda, is to enjoy a $163 million (RMB1.06 billion) capital injection from Oceanwide Holdings, a property to Internet group.
That will give Oceanwide 6.61% of Wanda Pictures, according to documents filed by Oceanwide, which is listed in Shenzhen.
Documents circulated last month in financial circles showed Wanda was seeking $1.5 billion of outside investment in Wanda Pictures ahead of an IPO or backdoor stock listing that would value Wanda Pictures at $5.37 billion (RMB35 billion) on flotation.
Dalian Wanda announced the $3.5 billion acquisition of “The Dark Knight” producer Legendary Entertainment. That deal may still need regulatory approvals. When the takeover is completed, Legendary appears on course to be injected into Wanda Pictures and provide most of its value.
Oceanwide will also invest $221 million (RMB1.44 billion) in Qingdao Wanda Pictures, the Wanda unit that is currently constructing a massive studio and facilities complex in the coastal city of Qingdao. That sum buys Oceanwide 7.59% of Qingdao and implies a $2.91 billion valuation for the studio cluster.
It is not clear whether Wanda is also seeking a share listing for the Qingdao operations, or, whether selling off a piece of the business is another example of Wanda’s “asset light” policy, which reduces Wanda’s capital commitments to its own projects.
Dalian Wanda is privately controlled and largely held by Wang Jianlin, reported to be China’s richest tycoon. Its Chinese and Australian cinemas business Wanda Cinema Line is already listed in China, while Wanda Commercial Properties is listed in Hong Kong.
In a separate development, Wanda Cinema Line announced that the current suspension of its shares could be extended until early April. The company said that it was planning a substantial structural reorganization. At the end of February, it asked for a suspension pending an acquisition that has still not been disclosed.
It is unclear whether the possible acquisition or the proposed reorganization are related to Wanda’s North American theaters business. While Wanda Cinema Line shares have been suspended, the Dalian Wanda-controlled AMC Entertainment proposed to buy Carmike Cinemas for $1.1 billion.