HONG KONG — Australia based entertainment giant Village Roadshow has filed a lawsuit against Golden Harvest Entertainment to prevent the Hong Kong based film distributor from placing shares with Rupert Murdoch and two other billionaires.

Last week, Golden Harvest announced that it was planning to sell 37.7 million new shares at HK50¢ (6.5¢) a share to companies controlled by Murdoch, Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka shing and Malaysian magnate Robert Kuok. (In Forbes’ current list of billionaires, Li ranks 13th, Murdoch 50th and Kuok 62nd).

Asia circuit partners

Village Roadshow already owns 16% of Golden Harvest and the companies operate cinemas together in Asia.

Hong Kong newspapers have reported that Golden Harvest looked to sell a portion of the company in order to block a takeover by Village Roadshow.

Minority concerns

In its suit, Village Roadshow argued that the sale would hurt minority shareholders such as itself and should be declared invalid. It also said it believes that Golden Harvest, which has been hard hit by the Asian economic maelstrom, was looking to alter its shareholding rather than to raise money.

Last week, Village Roadshow said it would consider offering 9¢ each for the shares in Golden Harvest it doesn’t already own. Nevertheless, Village Roadshow said it had not made a formal bid to buy the film company outright.