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Wanda Cinema Buys 2% Stake in China’s Bona Film Group

Wanda Cinema Line, part of China’s giant Dalian Wanda property to entertainment group, is buying a small share stake in Bona Film Group.

According to a regulatory filing by the Shanghai-listed Wanda Cinema unit, it will pay $43.4 million (RMB300 million) for a 1.875% interest in the privately-owned Bona.

The agreement will also see all of Bona’s existing and future multiplexes operated by Wanda. A Bona spokesman clarified to Variety that ownership of the cinemas will remain with Bona.

The two companies will also cooperate in cinema advertising and film production.

Bona was previously listed on the NASDAQ exchange, but took itself private again in April 2016. That buyout was leveraged with the support of a mixture of industry players and investment firms. It saw companies including Tencent, Alibaba Pictures and Fosun International all buy minority stakes in Bona.

The Wanda Cinema deal gives Bona an implied valuation of RMB16 billion. That is a fraction ahead of the RMB15 billion value implied by a December 2016 funding round, and it is more than double the price that founder Yu Dong and the institutional shareholders paid to take it off NASDAQ a year ago. Bona executives have dropped many hints that they intend to relist the company on a Chinese stock market.

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