Group in talks to buy Lions Gate stake

Updated: 2014-12-03 04:04


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Dalian Wanda Group Co, which controls the second-biggest United States cinema chain, is in talks to acquire a stake in film studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, Chairman Wang Jianlin has revealed.

The company is interested in taking control of Lions Gate, the $4.7 billion studio behind The Hunger Games films, although its owners have only been willing to sell it a minority stake. Talks are at an early stage and may not lead to a deal, Wang said.

Wanda has also held discussions about investing in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, the independent producer of the James Bond films.

"Many people come knocking at my door, but Wanda is only interested in the big players and we want control," Wang said. "China's movie industry is booming at unprecedented speed. Buying a well-known US company will help our distribution overseas."

Lions Gate shares rose 3 percent to close at $34.90 in New York. They have gained 10 percent this year.

The 60-year-old Wang, who made his fortune developing shopping malls and hotels in China, has a net worth of $15.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Wanda said in August it plans to invest $1.2 billion to develop a plot of land in Beverly Hills, California, and will set up an office there to do deals in Hollywood. Wang held an Oct 8 meeting in Beijing with Lions Gate Chairman Mark Rachesky, the movie studio's largest shareholder, according to a news post on the company's website.

A Lions Gate spokesman and a spokeswoman for MGM refused to comment.