Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is continuing in his mission to own all the things, particularly those that give you joy.
Back in 2012, the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, owned by Wang, bought America’s largest cinema chain, AMC Entertainment, for $2.6 billion. Now, they are looking to expand that overseas empire even further by buying up two of Europe’s biggest movie theatre operators, Odeon & UCI Cinemas, for $1.2 billion more, BBC reports.
The Odeon & UCI Cinemas group was owned by private equity firm Terra Firma. They were reluctant to sell and many deals fell through in the past, but it seems that in the end, Wang’s deep pockets won out. Dalian Wanda is now the world’s largest movie theatre operator.
Wang founded Wanda back in 1988 and turned it into China’s largest commercial real estate firm. He is renowned for his status as China’s richest man as well as its karoake king.
Odeon & UCI Cinemas encompasses 242 theatres with 2,236 screens. The company will continue to be based in London as a subsidiary to AMC. That brings AMC’s total number of theatres up to 627, along with 7,600 screens in eight countries.
Of course, Wang isn’t just trying to control all the world’s movie screens, but also the movies themselves. Wanda has built the world’s largest film production studio in China and has even acquired Legendary Entertainment, a Hollywood studio that has produced some big-name films. This business model has already been proven to be extremely profitable, with the unbelievable box office success of Warcraft in China, which was produced by Legendary Entertainment and shown on Wanda Cinemas screens.
Oh, and now Wang is closing in on buying a serious stake in Paramount Pictures from Viacom as well.
By Robin Winship
[Images via CCTV News]