Wang eyes Dick Clark Productions
Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, is in discussions to acquire control of US-based Dick Clark Productions at a valuation of about $1 billion through his Dalian Wanda Group Co, according to a published report.
The Wall Street Journal on Monday cited people with knowledge of the situation as saying that Wanda is the leading bidder for the company, which was founded in 1957 by the late television personality. It stages some of Hollywood’s popular awards shows, including the Golden Globe Awards and the American Music Awards.
The Journal reported that the Golden Globes attracted 18.5 million viewers this year, while the 2016 Billboard Music Awards drew about 9.6 million viewers and the 2015 American Music Awards drew about 11 million viewers. Beauty pageant Miss America, another event run by Dick Clark Productions, also attracts millions of American viewers.
Wanda owns AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, the largest movie theater chain in China and the second-largest in the US, and movie producer Legendary Entertainment. Last week, Wanda announced that it was teaming up with Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc to help market its films in China.
Wang is seeking to spearhead the nation’s burgeoning leisure industry by developing 15 Wanda City projects across the country by the end of the decade. He is preparing to open his second Wanda City as he escalates his efforts to fend off Walt Disney Co in China.
Hefei Wanda City, about 500 kilometers west of the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, opened to the public on Saturday. Besides theme park facilities, the 35 billion-yuan ($5.2 billion) development will include hotels, a movie theater, a shopping mall and residential apartments across 1.6 square kilometers, according to Wanda.
Behind the wave of theme parks is China’s growing middle class, which is fueling demand for leisure activities. There are about 300 parks in operation already in China with scores more on the way, according to Macquarie Group Ltd estimates in January. The government predicts the nation’s $610 billion tourism industry will double over five years.