“Dick Clark Productions and Beijing Wanda Culture Industry Group Co., Ltd., have agreed to enter into exclusive talks with the shared goal of finalizing a mutually satisfactory transaction,” said a spokesman for Eldridge Industries, the parent company of Dick Clark Productions.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Wanda is considering purchasing Dick Clark for as much as $1 billion. The company has changed hands numerous times during the past dozen years and at present is part of Eldridge, the holding company of former Guggenheim Partners executive Todd Boehly.
Eldridge signaled its intent to shop Dick Clark and other assets earlier this year when it hired Moelis & Co. and Goldman Sachs to seek alternative options for the assets. Boehly took over Dick Clark Productions, the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, among other assets from Guggenheim when he parted ways with the investment bank.
The $1 billion price tag for Dick Clark comes as a surprise to many industry observers. The company has solid awards show franchises such as the American Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards. But it has failed to generate much in the way of successful new programs in recent years — particularly the kind of returning series that would be most valuable to an unscripted production entity.
But Wanda’s pursuit of Dick Clark comes after a burst of consolidation among smaller independent production companies that have fetched sky-high acquisition prices.
Wanda’s appetite for U.S. media and entertainment assets has been voracious during the past few years. The company owns the nation’s second-largest largest exhibitor, AMC Theaters. Earlier this year Wanda laid out a whopping $3.5 billion for Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment.
A rep for Wanda could not be immediately reached for comment.