China’s Dalian Wanda Group, which has diversified from its real-estate roots into a major Hollywood player, is buying Dick Clark Productions for about $1 billion in its first move into television production.
The deal continues the aggressive acquisitions strategy of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man and the chairman of Dalian Wanda, which also owns the AMC theater chain and film-production company Legendary Entertainment. Dick Clark Productions’ shows include the Golden Globes and the American Music Awards.
“Obtaining top television production rights brings about complementary and coordinated development for Wanda’s current focuses on the film, tourism, and sports industries,” Wanda said in a news release.
Wanda is acquiring DCP from Eldridge Industries. In 2012, Guggenheim Partners and others paid $370 million for the studio.
Variety noted that DCP has struggled to produce successful new programs and industry observers “were shocked when word surfaced last month that Wanda was considering such a high valuation for the company. One source who looked at the company when it was on the block in 2012 called the estimated $1 billion price tag ‘nonsensical’ given the lack of new assets added in the past four years.”
“Wanda and DCP may be betting on the moneymaking potential of the company’s most high-profile production, the Golden Globe Awards, growing significantly when the contract [with NBC] comes up for renewal in 2018,” Variety added.
One Chinese entertainment executive said Wanda is buying Dick Clark to get its deep experience in producing TV shows.
”It is much faster to buy resources then starting up by yourself, as long as you have the money,” Du Hua, chief executive of Yuehua Entertainment, told The Wall Street Journal.
Wang, who has an estimated net worth of $32.7 billion, has repeatedly said he wants to invest in or own major Hollywood studios. “I might as well start from wherever I can, such as through investment with all six [studios],” he told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.
Wanda has teamed up with Sony to market the studio’s films in China and is building a production studio in the Chinese port city of Qindao that will be twice as large as the biggest American studio lot.