One of China's wealthiest men has been on a buying spree in Hollywood, snapping up cinemas and movie production companies. Now Wang Jianlin, the chairman of the Beijing-based Dalian Wanda Group has acquired another piece of Americana: Dick Clark Productions.
The deal announced Friday gives Wang's company, the Dalian Wanda Group, the rights to star-studded events such as the Golden Globes awards, the American Music Awards, the Miss America pageant, and New Years Rockin Eve in Times Square. Dick Clark Productions has been around since the 1950s when American Bandstand was broadcast on black and white television sets across the country.
It's just the latest big-ticket acquisition for the Chinese mogul. Wanda has bought AMC theatres, the country's 2nd largest cinema chain, for $2.6 billion. It scooped up Legendary Entertainment, one of the biggest movie production companies in Hollywood, for $3.5 billion. Wanda has announced plans to buy Carmike Cinemas for just over $1 billion. If that last deal takes place, it would make Wanda the largest theater operator in the U.S. Wanda is involved in marketing, distributing and investing in films.
"Wanda's just been on a spree," says Marc Ganis, co-founder of Jiaflix, a U.S. firm that helps market films in China. He says Wang, 61, a former commander in the People's Liberation Army, has made it clear he wants one of the "big six" movie studios. He tried to buy Paramount Pictures earlier this year, but that plan unraveled after the controlling shareholder, Viacom, backed out.
"He intends to make Wanda the pre-eminent entertainment company in the world, that is what he has said," says Ganis. "His ambitions and those of Wanda are worldwide, not just focused in China."