×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Wanda’s Qingdao Studio Could Be Part of Recent Selloff of Theme Parks and Hotels

In a dramatic twist to Dalian Wanda’s recent offloading of theme parks and hotels, questions swirled Friday over whether the company’s huge new studio complex in Qingdao is included in the $9.2 billion sale, which would make Wanda’s pullback in the entertainment arena even starker.

In a regulatory filing in Hong Kong, developer Sunac China listed the properties it is acquiring from Wanda in the recently announced deal. In Qingdao, aside from other parcels, the list includes, in English, Wanda’s “television industry park.” (In the Chinese-language filing, the words are “film and television park.”)

The Wall Street Journal quoted a Sunac spokeswoman as saying that this referred to Wanda Studios, the massive production facility Wanda is building in seaside Qingdao, including 30 sound stages, half of which are already up and running. “The Great Wall” and “Pacific Rim 2” were shot at the site, which sprawls over 400 acres, and other productions are underway.

However, Wanda has not responded to requests for comment, including from Variety, on the suggestion that Wanda Studios is part of the selloff of theme parks and hotels, which was announced earlier this month. The studio complex is part of Wanda’s $8.2 billion investment in commercial property in Qingdao.

Last weekend, in an interview about the parks-and-hotels deal, Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin told the Chinese financial journal Caixin that the company had “sold what should be sold and maintained what should be saved.” He said that the sale would help his conglomerate in reducing its debt burden and pursuing a new “asset-light” strategy.

If the Qingdao production complex has been offloaded, with Wanda retaining only a 9% stake, it would represent a major blow to Wang’s trumpeted ambitions of challenging Hollywood. Just last month, Wanda Studios executives proudly gave a tour of the facility to China-based representatives of Hollywood studios and declared their goal of hosting five to six Hollywood productions per year.

Since then, Wanda and other aggressively expanding companies have had their wings clipped by the Chinese government, which is cracking down on overseas acquisitions and other business deals that regulators deem imprudent, especially those laden with debt.

Within days of the announced sale of Wanda’s theme parks and 77 of its hotels to Sunac China and R&F Properties, respectively, a document emerged in China apparently showing that the country’s banks have been banned from helping Wanda finance six of its splashiest deals, including its $3.5 billion purchase of Legendary Entertainment last year.

In his comments to Caixin, Wang sounded a chastened note, saying he would concentrate on investing in China, not offshore, because “companies have to follow the trend of the national economic development.”

Vivienne Chow contributed to this report.

More Biz

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Gersh Agency Stirs Ire After Canceling Network Meeting for Former Client

    In a sign of hostility in the war between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, Gersh Agency has come under fire from TV and film writers for canceling a network meeting that it had arranged for a now-former client. Writer Jorge Reyes disclosed the incident in a series of tweets on Monday. Reyes asserted [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Nickelodeon Alum Keith Dawkins Sets Kidvid Partnership With Believe Entertainment Group

    Former Nickelodeon executive Keith Dawkins has partnered with Believe Entertainment Group to develop children’s programming. Dawkins will partner with Believe under his newly formed Rock Hill Media Ventures, which aims to advise companies in media, entertainment and sports on working with diverse and emerging talent. Dawkins previously spent 17 years at Viacom, most of which [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The

    CAA's Packaging Fee Becomes Flashpoint in 'Walking Dead' Litigation

    UPDATED with new statement and response filing The issue that is at the heart of the WGA’s present standoff with talent agencies has flared up as a source of tension in the litigation between AMC Networks and Frank Darabont and CAA over profit participation on “The Walking Dead.” Attorneys for Darabont and CAA called AMC’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content