In an interview, Wang told news agency Reuters: “My goal is to buy Hollywood companies and bring their technology and capability to China.”
Wang, gave no details of the proposed deals, save to say that they could happen this year. He said that after completing those two deals his next target would be one of the six ‘Hollywood Majors.’
Contacted by Variety, Wanda spokesmen offered no additional comment.
That timetable would appear to rule out an imminent bid for Paramount Pictures. Wanda is known to have been one of the front runners to buy a minority stake in the studio after a slice of it was put up for sale by parent company Viacom. But a minority position in a Hollywood studio may not have served Wanda’s ambitions, which are global.
The recent executive reshuffle within Viacom saw Philippe Dauman ousted as Viacom CEO, but stay on until mid-September as non-executive chairman and with one remaining month to try to execute the stake sale that the Redstone family shareholders are understood to oppose.
“We are interested not only in Paramount, but all of them. If one of the big six would be willing to be sold to us, we would be interested,” Wang told Reuters. “Only the six are real film companies, while the rest are not If we are to build a real movie empire, this is a necessary step.”
At the beginning of this year, when announcing the Legendary purchase for $3.5 billion, Wang said that Wanda would this year make five major deals, with three of them abroad. His commitment to acquisitions and investment so far this year already exceeds $25 billion, though some of it involves his privately controlled Dalian Wanda buying up listed subsidiary Wanda Commercial Property and a reorganization of Wanda Cinema Line.
That latter reshuffle — which had involved the absorption of loss-making Legendary — was seemingly scuppered by China’s capital market regulators. They said that the deal structure was unclear.
Other deals and investment commitments have included a $3.4 billion property development in Northern Paris and a $10 billion investment in an industrial park in Haryana, India. In the entertainment sector, Wanda has acquired Chinese online movie marketing and information company Mtime, announced the 1.1 billion acquisition European cinema chain Odeon / UCI, and the acquisition of U.S. theaters chain Carmike.
Wanda is also expanding in sports. After acquisitions of sports rights marketing firm Infront and the Ironman competition organizers, Wanda this year signed a long-term top-level sponsorship agreement with FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.
The group has had a couple of setbacks this year too. In July it announced the shuttering of its theme park in Wuhan. That was followed by the collapse of its e-commerce joint venture with Alibaba and Tencent. Though that may not deter Wanda from pressing ahead in the e-commerce sector in a different configuration. Wang is expected to make a major announcement in the sector later this week.