Wanda Cinema Line Corp., which is part of leading Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group, has said that it intends to buy the Australian cinema chain Hoyts Group. There was no indication as to how much the Wanda Group was going to pay for the chain according to Reuters, but a Variety report indicates the price tag could be upwards of USD 750 million.
This news means that the Dalian Wanda Group’s entertainment empire, owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin, who already owns 5,000 cinemas in the US, will expand even further. Forbes currently lists Wang as the 29th wealthiest person in the world, at a net worth of USD 39.2 billion.
Hoyts operates around 450 cinemas in Australia and New Zealand, while Wanda is the biggest Chinese theater chain with over 150 cinemas across 80 cities. This makes the coalescing of the two an incredible venture, especially when combined with Wanda's previous entertainment acquisitions.
For example, in addition to AMC Entertainment Holdings, the US’ second largest cinema chain, which Wanda Group acquired for USD 2.6 billion, in 2013 the company also invested in a huge movie studio and entertainment complex in coastal Qingdao called Oriental Movie Metropolis, which is said to include an underwater stage, and aims to produce 130 movies a year. However, there's been no word yet on whether they'll be using all their new equipment to revive the perpetually shelved Empires of the Deep. We continue to hold out hope.
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