Martial arts superstar, Jet Li has taken advantage of the recent turmoil in Chinese equities. He and his wife have bought a majority stake in Far East Holding Intl., a Hong Kong listed holding company.
The pair invested HK$1.15 billion ($148 million) in the company, heading a group of investors that paid a total of $187 million for the company.
Acquiring through Regent Pacific Business, they paid HK$0.1 per share, a more than 90% discount to the price of the company’s shares before they halted trading on June 29.
The other investors include King Pak-fu, chairman of tourism group Carnival Group Intl., Lau Man-tak, Wang Chou Lingyu and Xu Yong, who appears to be the co-founder of Baidu.
Far East Holding used to be a family-controlled property firm, but after the death of its founder the family has cut its interests, leaving it as little more than a shell company.
Controlling shell companies is seen as an attractive route on to the stock market that can be quicker and involve less scrutiny than a full initial public offering.
The Chinese government has recently introduced a series of measures – including a ban on new IPOs – to prop up its see-sawing stock market, but these have sapped investor confidence in mainland equity markets. In contrast, the Hong Kong market has been buffeted by the Chinese turmoil, but has functioned normally and without restrictions or government intervention.
Li is also a significant shareholder in Alibaba Pictures Group, a company that itself was a reverse takeover last year.