Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin on Friday sealed a deal to buy 'So You Think You Can Dance' maker Dick Clark Productions for $1 billion, adding TV production to his growing basket of U.S. media interests.
Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group said the takeover is "a big step forward in expanding Wanda's map in the entertainment industry." It said Dick Clark Productions' management will remain in place and had agreed on targets with its new owner which should lift revenue and profit in coming years. It didn't give figures.
Already in the U.S. Dalian Wanda controls the AMC Entertainment cinemas chain, film producer Legendary Entertainment and has held talks about buying a 49% stake in Viacom (VIAB) Paramount Pictures. AMC is trying to close the $1.2 billion purchase of Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) after activist investor opposition.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Dick Clark Productions takes its name from the late TV personality who founded the business in 1957.
Dalian Wanda noted that Dick Clark Productions makes most of its revenue from broadcasting rights for various ceremonies, including the 'Golden Globe' awards, and holds most of these rights for an indefinite period through long-term agreements with TV stations.
"DCP has abundant cash flow with a high level of operation stability and steady profit growth. As broadcast right fees for art and sports programs increase in the U.S., DCP will further improve its performance and company values," the buyer said.
Dalian Wanda is China's largest commercial property group. As well as media operations, it also has financial services and leisure assets.
At home Jianlin recently opened his second Wanda theme park in the Eastern city of Hefei, which he hopes will rival Shanghai Disney.
Dick Clark-owner Eldridge Industries confirmed exclusive talks with Jianlin's Beijing Wanda Culture Industry in September.
Eldridge is controlled by 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.
Other Eldridge media assets include The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.