HONG KONG -- Fosun Intl., the Chinese conglomerate that is poised to back Jeff Robinov's upstart Studio 8 company, is to increase its stake in producer, distributor Bona Film Group.At the same time Bona's chairman and CEO Yu Dong is to buy out the 19.3% stake in the company that is currently held by 21st Century Fox. Yu will pay $71.4 million for the stake, which was originally acquired by 21st Century Fox (then News Corp.) in May 2012. The...
A high-stakes risk-taker, Yu Dong is one of China’s most prominent and experienced film producers and distributors. Having graduated from the Beijing Film Academy, Yu began his career in distribution at Beijing Film Studio and China Film Group, the state-owned enterprise that is still the country’s key distributor. In 1999 he set up Polybona, as an offshoot of another SOE, the China Poly Group.
As he shifted Bona into the private sector it was the first to win a distribution license after the industry’s deregulation. Yu initially involved himself with Hong Kong film talent, but increasingly shifted production to China as the industry matured. Yu’s financial savvy made Bona one of the first Chinese film companies to attract U.S. capital (from Sequoia and Matrix), receive bank finance and launch a film fund.
After floating Bona on NASDAQ in 2010, he also won investment and a co-production pact from Fox. In the last year he has borrowed heavily to delist the company ahead of a likely relisting on a Chinese stock exchange. The company’s production-distribution focus has kept it smaller than fast diversifying rivals, but Yu’s ability to pick winners and to analyze the Chinese industry’s trends means that he is always listened to.