China’s Alibaba Pictures Group and Tencent Holdings have led a RMB 2.5B ($360M) funding round in Bona Film Group, valuing the leading Chinese production and distribution outfit at $2.2B. The investment is designed to help the company expand. It also comes following Bona’s delisting from the NASDAQ last April. At the time, Alibaba had acquired about 8% of Bona.
The rival internet giants are not often partners in the same company, but have previously invested in China Media Capital’s smart-TV start-up Whaley Technology and are part of a deal with Huayi Brothers to develop and finance English-language films.
Bona’s chief Yu Dong said the company will benefit from creating synergy with each strategic investor.
Bona produced and released 13 Chinese movies in 2016, taking RMB 3.7B ($533M) at the box office. Despite the underperformance of summer tentpole League Of Gods, that’s about 9% of China’s total ticket sales this year.
“The Chinese film industry has entered a consolidation phase after years of wild growth,” said Yu Yongfu, chairman of Alibaba Pictures, according to China Money Network. “We see more companies voluntarily exit the business or acquired by stronger ones next year, which will be a real opportunity.”
Founded in 1999, Bona was the first Chinese entertainment company to be listed on NASDAQ. It has produced films such as The Grandmaster 3D, Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate 3D, and the From Vegas To Macau series.
In November 2015, Bona invested $235M in The Seelig Group, buying itself a piece of six 20th Century Fox productions, including The Martian, X-Men: Apocalypse and War For The Planet Of The Apes.
CITIC GoldStone Investment, China Development Bank Capital Corporation, Zhongzhi Enterprise Group, CMB International, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Macrolink Group also participated in the round.