Chinese media giant Dalian Wanda Group is consolidating its different film operations to come under its exhibition unit Wanda Cinema Line, which is listed on the Shenzhen exchange. Among the units being brought into the fold will be Legendary Entertainment, which Wanda acquired back in January for $3.5 billion. News of the restructure was revealed in a filing to regulators.
Wanda will be moving its Wanda Pictures subsidiary, including Legendary, into its listed cinema exhibition arm. Qingdao Wanda Pictures — Wanda’s film services unit is busy building a studio facility in the Eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao — will also be merged into Wanda Cinema Line. Wanda’s stocks were temporarily suspended from trading back in February pending the announcement of an acquisition. While initial speculation led some in the trades to marry up Wanda Group’s billionaire founder Wang Jianlin with Paramount, the truth was revealed with the confirmation that Wanda would be investing $3.3B by 2024 in EuropaCity, a mega-project near Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport that will boast a theme park, attractions, cultural exhibitions, retail shops, outdoor sports venues and restaurants over about 200 acres. It’s Wanda’s biggest-ever single project in Europe, which the company said will create about 14,000 jobs.
Further details of that, as well as potential other acquisitions, are expected to be made public April 8, according to the filing. The ramping up of acquisitions come as words continues to spread that Wanda is eyeing an IPO. Last month, it was leaked that the company was seeking $1.5 billion of outside investment in specifically Wanda Pictures ahead the planned IPO, along with either a backdoor stock listing or an asset injection into another listed Dalian Wanda Group. Wanda Pictures is valued at over $5 billion.