Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is continuing his offensive on U.S. media assets with talks to buy control of TV producer Dick Clark Productions at a valuation reported to be up to $1 billion.
In the U.S. Jianlin's Dalian Wanda conglomerate controls the AMC cinemas chain, film producer Legendary Entertainment and has held talks about buying a 49% stake in Viacom's (VIAB) - Get ReportParamount Pictures.
Dick Clark owner Eldridge Industries confirmed exclusive talks about a sale of the group with Jianlin's Beijing Wanda Culture Industry . The talks have "the shared goal of finalizing a mutually satisfactory transaction," The Wall Street Journal reported the statement as declaring. The newspaper cited a person familiar with the situation saying the talks are still at an early stage and there remains a valuation gap between the two sides.
Eldridge Industries earlier this year hired Moelis and Goldman Sachs Group to review its media holdings, according to Reuters. These also include The Hollywood Reporter, which also reported on the Dick Clark talks, and Billboard. Eldridge's chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder is Todd Boehly, who bought control of the assets last year from Guggenheim Partners, of which he was then president. He remains a shareholder and board member of Guggenheim affiliate Guggenheim KBBO Partners. A message seeking comment was sent to Eldridge.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Dick Clark makes live entertainment programs including the Golden Globe Awards, where Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, pictured, last year won the category of best director-motion picture for The Revenant. Dick Clark's other programming includes the Billboard Music Awards and So you think you can dance.
Dalian Wanda Group is China's largest commercial property group, owns financial services interests, and holds leisure and entertainment assets worldwide. In the U.S. its AMC cinema chain is trying to close the $1.2 billion purchase of Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) amid activist investor opposition.
At home Jianlin has just opened his second Wanda theme park in the Eastern city of Hefei, which he hopes will rival Shanghai Disney.