Perfect World, the Chinese games and film conglomerate that is the co-financier of a slate of Universal Pictures movies, is raising $156 million (RMB1 billion) of fresh capital.
The company announced in a regulatory filing that it would sell up to 25 million shares in a private placing. The new capital would represent less than 20% of its existing share base, it said. Its shares were suspended from trading on the Shenzhen stock market ahead of the announcement.
The proceeds of the share sale will be used to increase its investments in film and television projects. It did not make any reference to its long term co-financing deal with Universal, nor to any specific projects.
Instead it explained that the Chinese film and TV industries have seen intensifying competition, with a growing emphasis being put on quality over quantity. That in turn is driving up costs. “The production cycle for high quality film and TV drama is lengthening, and production costs are increasing. Both factors require greater capital investment,” the filing said.
The company struck its five-year, 50-film deal with Universal, which had an estimated $500 million commitment, in January 2016. In October last year Perfect World raised an additional $250 million to finance the slate deal, in a funding round organized through JP Morgan and East West Bank.
In June last year, Perfect World merged its Chinese film making activities with those of Village Roadshow, in a deal backed by WME that created new entity Perfect Village Entertainment. PVE is currenlty readying Zhang Yimou thriller “Shadow” for a late summer release.
The new venture’s initial slate of films included sci-fi action picture “Bleeding Steel,” starring Jackie Chan, and “Reborn,” a cyber-hacker thriller starring Han Geng and Rhydian Vaughan.