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China's Wanda Group in talks with Dick Clark Productions
[SAN FRANCISCO] Chinese real estate and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda is in talks to finalise a deal with Dick Clark Productions, according to a statement on Monday, as the Chinese firm seeks to expand its growing portfolio of investments in Hollywood.
"Dick Clark Productions and Beijing Wanda Culture Industry Group Co Ltd, have agreed to enter into exclusive talks with the shared goal of finalising a mutually satisfactory transaction," a spokesman for Eldridge Industries, the owner of Dick Clark Productions, said in an emailed statement.
Wanda is looking to bid US$1 billion for the TV production company, according to a source familiar with the deal, who did not want to be named because the deal value is not public. No deal is certain and talks could still fall apart, the person added.
An acquisition of Dick Clark, the producer of live television events such as the Golden Globes and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest," would be the latest move to further Wanda's Hollywood ambitions. Wanda announced last week that it will market Sony Pictures' films and co-finance upcoming movie releases of Sony Corp's film unit in China.
A representative for Wanda did not immediately respond to a request for comment while a spokesman for Eldridge Industries declined to comment on the deal value.
Wanda, controlled by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, already owns Legendary Entertainment, co-producer of film hits such as Jurassic World and The Dark Knight, which was the biggest US-China movie deal when it was sealed in January, and US cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings. It also showed interest in buying a stake in Paramount, the movie studio owned by Viacom Inc, earlier this year.
Reuters first reported in June that Eldridge Industries, the US owner of magazines Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter as well as Dick Clark Productions, had hired investment banks to carry out a review of its media holdings.
Based in Santa Monica, California, Dick Clark Productions also produces the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards.
Investment firm Guggenheim Partners bought Dick Clark Productions in 2012 for about US$380 million from RedZone Capital Management, a private equity firm run by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
Last year, Eldridge Industries majority owner and chief executive Todd Boehly left Guggenheim, where he served as president, to start his own company that holds these media assets.