China’s Wanda Seeks Share Listings For Film Divisions

Wang Jianlin, founder and chairman of China’s giant property to entertainment conglomerate, is seeking to give a share listing to the group’s film division.

Wang revealed his plans in an interview with influential finance publication Caixin, and said that the Wanda Media IPO would be targeted for 2016.

He said that he is currently undecided as to whether the film distribution and production units would be floated as a single company or split into two separate businesses.

“Once they go public, it will prompt even higher growth and position us at the top of all parts of the business chain,” Wang said in the interview.

Wang’s plans must be categorized as speculative. Earlier this year mainland Chinese authorities halted all IPOs as part of their measures to calm roiling stock markets. However, in recent weeks there have been signals that IPO activity may be allowed to restart. Alternatively, if IPO channels in China remain blocked, Wang could list the film businesses in Hong Kong, which has separate jurisdiction and where Wanda Commercial Properties is traded.

Wanda Cinema Line, China’s leading cinema exhibitor, already has its own share listing on the Shenzhen stock market and is currently valued at RMB121 billion ($18.9 billion). That makes it nearly eight times more valuable than AMC Entertainment, the North American cinema chain which it also controls. The market capitalization of AMC stands at $2.45 billion.

Wanda recently reorganized its entire film business, putting it under the control of former Microsoft and News Corp. executive Jack Gao. Wanda Film Holding includes Wanda Cinema Line, AMC, as well as currently unlisted Chinese production and distribution business Wanda Media, the privately held Wanda Qingdao Studios complex which is due to open in April 2017, and Hoyts, the Australian cinema chain and distribution company that Wanda acquired earlier this year in a US$600 million deal.

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