China's Dalian Wanda Group is nearing an agreement to buy Dick Clark Productions, the company behind such shows as the Golden Globe Awards and SoYou Think You Can Dance, in a deal valued at around $1 billion, sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed. The agreement was expected to be announced Tuesday, but a planned announcement slipped as final deal points continue to be discussed.
If the deal occurred, it would be the latest acquisition in a shopping spree in the media world by Wanda, whose assets include shopping malls and the AMC Entertainment (AMC) - Get Report theater chain. In January, Wanda bought Legendary Entertainment, a producer of big-budget films, for $3.5 billion, and in July AMC agreed to buy the Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) theater chain for $1.2 billion.
In September, Wanda, headed by billionaire Wang Jianlin (pictured above), said it had reached an "open-ended investment partnership" to finance films produced by Sony's (SNE) - Get Report Sony Pictures film unit.
A Wanda spokesman had no comment. A spokesman for Dick Clark Productions' owner, Eldridge Industries, headed by former Guggenheim Partners executive Todd Boehly, could not be located for comment.
Wanda, known in China mostly as a commercial property developer, said this week that it plans to build a sprawling $8.2 billion production facility in the city of Qingdao in Shandong province and would provide incentives for Hollywood studios to film movies there.
Dick Clark Productions, founded by the late TV personality and host of the American Bandstand show, also produces The American Music Awards, the Academy of Country MusicAwards and several other awards shows. It also will produce a series of For the Record Live specials for Disney's (DIS) - Get Report ABC network based on soundtracks to well-known films.
News of the impending deal first surfaced in The Wall Street Journal. Eldridge Industries acknowledged at the time that the two parties were in discussion.
A Wanda deal for Dick Clark Productions also would continue a string of Chinese investments in U.S. media companies in recent years.
Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners on Oct. 9 said it had sold a minority stake to Alibaba Pictures Group. Fosun International in 2014 invested in Hollywood studio Studio 8.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held a position in Disney.