Wanda, Sony said to be close to movie al­liance

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By BLOOMBERG

Bil­lion­aire Wang Jian­lin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co is near­ing an agree­ment to col­lab­o­rate on movie projects with Sony Corp’s film unit, ac­cord­ing to a source with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

An ac­cord could in­volve co­fi­nanc­ing and other forms of co­op­er­a­tion, such as mar­ket­ing, said the source, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the mat­ter is still pri­vate. Wanda may fi­nance up to 10 per­cent of some films, the per­son said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives atWanda and Sony ei­ther de­clined to com­ment or did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to queries.

For China’sWanda, which op­er­ates the largest num­ber of movie screens world­wide, a deal with the stu­dio be­hind the Spi­der-Man movies would build on Wang’s am­bi­tions to ex­pand in­Hol­ly­wood af­ter snap­ping up in­de­pen­dent film pro­ducer Leg­endary En­ter­tain­ment for $3.5 bil­lion this year.

Wanda’s AMC En­ter­tain­ment Hold­ings Inc has also agreed to buy Carmike Cin­e­mas Inc, which would make it the big­gest op­er­a­tor of cin­e­mas in the US.

For the Hol­ly­wood arm of Sony, the Ja­panese maker of the PlayS­ta­tion, win­ning the back­ing of Wanda could help it gain greater ac­cess to China’s movie mar­ket. Wanda op­er­ates the largest movie-the­ater chain in China, where the box of­fice is headed to­ward over­tak­ing the United States by as soon as next year.

“Wanda is a big deep­pock­eted part­ner, so to not go it alone makes much sense,” Amir An­varzadeh, Sin­ga­pore-based global head of Ja­pan eq­uity sales at BGC Part­ners Inc, wrote in an e-mail. “Over­all, it’s a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment and we just have to wai­t­and­see­how much its po­ten­tial con­tri­bu­tion could be.”

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