Jul 15, 2016

    Wanda eyes 49% stake in Paramount Pictures


    CHINESE conglomerate Wanda is in talks to buy

    a stake in US film studio Paramount Pictures, according to a report, marking the Asian company's latest move

    to expand its

    entertainment empire.

    Wanda, which in January bought production giant Legendary Entertainment for US$3.5 billion

    (S$4.7 billion), is seeking

    49 per cent of Paramount from parent company Viacom, the Wall Street Journal quoted "people familiar with the discussions" as saying.

    It did not say how much the deal would be worth.

    The agreement would give Paramount - which is behind the Star Trek and Indiana Jones franchises -

    a crucial foothold in the

    vast Chinese market.

    But the Wall Street Journal said hurdles

    remain before any deal.

    The report comes as Viacom is embroiled in

    a bitter internal power struggle that pits controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone and his family against other executives.

    In late February, chairman and chief executive Philippe Dauman said the firm would sell

    a significant minority stake in the movie studio and

    had received expressions

    of interest.

    But months later,

    Mr Redstone said he opposed any such sale in what he considered the jewel in the Viacom empire.

    Wanda, founded by one of China's richest men, Wang Jianlin, has its origins in commercial property.

    However, it is diversifying into

    areas - ranging from entertainment to sport.

    It bought US movie theatre chain AMC

    in 2012 for US$2.6 billion.

    AMC just days ago announced it was buying London-based Odeon & UCI cinema group in

    a deal worth around

    US$1.2 billion.