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Shanghai Groups Join Wanda in Infront Sports Deal

Shanghai Oriental Pearl and China Media Capital are to jointly buy a 5% stake in Infront Sports & Media, the sports marketing firm recently acquired by China’s Dalian Wanda group.

Oriental Pearl is a listed subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, while CMC is a private equiy fund run by former SMG boss Li Ruigang.

The two companies are buying their shares from Wanda, which earlier this month completed the $1.2 billion (Euro 1.05 billion) purchase of a 60% stake in the sports rights giant. Oriental said that the deal would help “Oriental Pearl and Star Sports obtain rights to broadcast major sports events and promote the development of its Internet TV services business.” It will pay $19.6 million for its equity sliver.

“To reflect the new ownership structure, Wanda representatives will join Infront’s board of directors. Wanda Cultural Industry Group president Lincoln Zhang will take over as chairman. Jack Q Gao, Wanda Group VP & CEO, International Investments and Business Developments, will act as vice chairman, Infront said. Philippe Blatter, son of controversial FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, will remain as Infront’s president and CEO.

Earlier this week (July 11) Wanda held its semi-annual meeting and said that it plans to accelerate the pace of its international expansion outside China, with six further acquisitions in the pipeline this year. These are especially likely to focus on cultural tourism and finance. Earlier this month Wanda also agreed to pay $577 million (RMB3.58 billion) for Chinese online travel firm Ly.com.

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