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Millennium Films in Sale Talks With China’s Recon (Report)

Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films /Nu Image may be in sale talks with Chinese financier Recon group, according to reports.

Bloomberg News Tuesday reported two unnamed sources close to Recon suggesting that Recon might attempt to buy Los Angeles-based producer and sales agent Millennium. Bloomberg’s sources said that Recon might use Shenzhen-listed subsidiary Recon Wenyuan Cable.

Recon is headed by Chinese businessman Tony Xia (aka Xia Jiantong.) In 2016 Recon bought control of the English soccer club Aston Villa in a deal reported to have been worth $101 million.

Millennium, which has previously produced “The Expendables” action franchise movies, is known to have been in talks with several Chinese firms over the past year. Sources in China have put the asking price north of $300 million.

The company has regularly turned to China for movie finance. Parts of “The Expendables” franchise were financed in association with China’s Le Vision Pictures, part of the LeEco cluster of companies. Earlier this week in Berlin, it was announced that Chinese distributor and financier Hishow had come on board two of Millennium’s current movies, “Hunter Killer,” and “Escobar.”

Recon bought Aston Villa from American businessman Randy Lerner. The relationship, if any, between between Randy Lerner and Avi Lerner is currently unclear.

Aston Villa reported that Recon is a “privately owned holding company that owns the controlling interest in five publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges.” That statement was later changed after investigations showed that Recon’s major asset was a 75% interest in Lotus Health, a major producer of food additive monosodium glutamate. Xia is chairman of Shanghai listed Lotus.

Other reports, however, have suggested that Recon has interests including financial services, IT, health and agriculture. At the time of the Aston Villa transaction, Recon said that it planned to buy clubs in other countries including India, Spain and the U.S. in order  to establish a new sports division.

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