×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paramount Partner Huahua Media Sold to Oriental Times

China’s Oriental Times Media has bought a majority stake in Huahua Culture Media, one of the pair of Chinese companies that is co-financing a slate of movies at Paramount Pictures.

The all-cash deal was completed for $40.6 million (RMB280 million) and sees Huahua sell a 51% stake, according to regulatory filings made by the Shenzhen stock market-listed Oriental Times.

It may also coincide with a rethink of the Paramount slate financing deal.

The Huahua takeover deal had been signaled many months earlier, but marks another curious twist in the corporate development of China’s film and entertainment sector.

For Oriental Times, previously known as Guanglu Measuring Instrument, the move is a further diversification from a core business in manufacturing precision digital measuring equipment. Entertainment is a business sector that is growing faster and attracts higher ratings from investors and Guanglu began expansion in 2015, at the height of the Chinese box office boom.

For Huahua, which has been one of the most forward Chinese investors in individual Hollywood movie titles, the share sale provides the founders with profits for building the business to its current scale. Huahua is involved in film distribution in China and film investment in China and the U.S. Its Hollywood investments include movies including “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Allied,” “Star Trek: Beyond,” and “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.” Huahua made nearly $6 million of profit in 2016-17, according to another filing by Oriental Times.

Earlier this year Huahua and Shanghai Film Group agreed to bankroll a slate of movies at Paramount. While that deal appeared to be delayed by Chinese regulatory limits on capital exports, it was eventually concluded in April as a three-year agreement to finance 30% of the production cost, up from an originally announced 25%.

The agreement, which also gives Huahua and SFG a presence on the Paramount lot, includes an option for the Chinese companies to extend the deal to a fourth year. But after the disappointing performance of a succession of Paramount titles – including “Ghost in the Shell,” “Transformers: The Last Knight,” and “Baywatch” – the slate financing deal could be in jeopardy.

An exit could be complicated. While the slate deal does not provide objective performance benchmarks that would allow Huahua and SFG to exit, it is understood that that Chinese investors could cite other reasons.

Oriental Times simultaneously announced another diversification. It announced that it would be buying a significant minority stake of 40% in TV producer Yuan Chun Media for $38.3 million (RMB264 million).

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content