Fresh off a magical inspection tour of Shanghai Disneyland, China’s richest man Wang Jianlin has finalized the acquisition of Dick Clark Productions for a cool $1 billion. Soon, the production studio behind popular productions like the Golden Globes will become the latest part of the vast Dalian Wanda entertainment empire.
Back in September, Eldridge Industries, which controls Dick Clark Productions, announced that they were in discussions with the Chinese real estate and entertainment giant to sell the production studio. At the time, reports speculated that the price tag could be around $1 billion. Turns out, they were right on the money! On Thursday, the two companies issued a joint press release stating that the price tag was “approximately $1 billion.”
That huge amount has astounded some industry insiders, two of which told Variety magazine that the sale was “nonsensical” and “unreal.”
Back in 2012, Dick Clark Productions was purchased by Guggenheim Partners for $370 million before being acquired by Eldridge in 2015.
But hey, what’s $1 billion for Wang? Recently, he was named China’s richest man yet again, besting Jack Ma. While Wang may have made most of his $32 billion fortune in real estate, recently he’s shifted toward buying up all things entertainment.
Earlier this year, Wanda paid out $3.5 billion to acquire Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood studio behind blockbuster movies like Jurassic World and Warcraft. More recently, Wanda announced that it will invest in films produced by Sony Pictures, and opened a new $8 billion studio complex in Qingdao. Last month, Wang was in Los Angeles trying to attract Hollywood filmmakers to come and work at the studio, along with negotiating the final details of the Dick Clark deal.
Of course, Wang isn’t just trying to control how films and TV are made, he also wants to control how you see them. Apart from Wanda Cinemas in China, Wang also owns the US cinema chain AMC Entertainment, along with the Europe’s Odeon & UCI Cinemas, making his company the world’s biggest movie theater operator, owning 13% of screens in China, the US and Europe.
Wang’s epic spending spree has members of the US government feeling a little nervous. Back in late September, 16 Congress members asked the US Government Accountability Office to begin scrutinizing Chinese acquisitions of US media companies just like they would in sectors of national security interest. They also urged government investigators to delve into Wang’s connections with high-ranking CPC members.