The New York Times reports that the push by Hollywood studios to break into China’s film market is not just one-way traffic, with China’s Wanda Group looking to purchase a significant stake in AMC Entertainment:
If completed, the deal will begin a new phase in China’s push into the global film industry by sharply increasing its leverage with Hollywood and creating the first theater chain to have a commanding presence in the world’s two largest movie markets.
The people who described the discussions spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private and not finished. The off-and-on negotiations, they said, began more than a year ago, then became more serious in recent weeks, as AMC scrapped plans for a stock offering that would have raised as much as $450 million.
AMC has been owned since 2004 by an investment group that includes the Apollo Investment Fund, J. P. Morgan Partners, Bain Capital Investors, the Carlyle Group and others. Apollo and its founder, Leon D. Black, also had a major stake in the chain before it was sold eight years ago for about $1.7 billion to a group in which Apollo and J. P. Morgan are the largest holders, with about 39 percent each.
See also recent CDT coverage of an open Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Hollywood’s China play, and reports that U.S. studio Lionsgate has received approval to screen “The Hunger Games” in China.