China’s Fosun Looking at Sale of Studio 8 Stake (Report)

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International may be exploring options for disposing of its stake in the Jeff Robinov-headed Studio 8.

In a report Tuesday in Asia citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg said that Fosun is considering the future of its holding in Studio 8. The news agency said that Fosun has not held formal talks with suitors, and that its options include continuing to hold on.

In an emailed response to Variety, Fosun denied the Bloomberg report. “Fosun is very supportive and continues to be committed to Studio 8 as a long-term strategic shareholder,” a Fosun spokesman said. “We look forward to the future release of its two new titles.”

The Bloomberg sources suggested that Fosun attributes $1 billion valuation to the holding. The company owns 80% of Studio 8’s A Class shares, which in turn holds 60% of the economic interest in the company. Differential voting rights mean that Fosun does not have management control.

Started in 2014 with backing from Sony and Fosun, Studio 8 has released only one feature film of note, the Ang Lee-directed “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” It has two films scheduled for release in 2018, “White Boy Rick” and “Alpha.”

Fosun was among the Chinese companies leading an overseas acquisition boom that stretched from 2012 to 2016, before the capital outflow was stanched by government intervention. Fosun acquired stakes in Cirque du Soleil, Club Mediterranee and English soccer club Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as a large property portfolio and a collection of insurance companies.

In comparison with Dalian Wanda, Fosun appears less constrained by the Chinese regulatory controls. In recent weeks, Fosun has sold a property development in Sydney, Australia, and bought a stake in the Tsingtao brewery. It has also been linked to a possible acquisition of Italian lingerie manufacturer La Perla.

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