Amid Hollywood’s efforts to push into China comes word of a Chinese investor group that’s “scouring” Hollywood for companies to buy. After holding preliminary talks with Summit prior to its acquisition by Lionsgate, a consortium led by Chinese media entrepreneur Bruno Wu is said to be eyeing an even bigger target. While The Financial Times reports that Wu, Harvest Global Investment and Pacific Alliance Group are understood to be keen to explore options with Miramax and have Lionsgate in their sights, I’m hearing that Wu and his partners – be they Harvest Global and Pacific Alliance or others – could also make a deal that heads from west to east. (It’s also worth noting that Canada’s Alliance Films is currently on the block while Entertainment One is considering its strategic options.) A desire to move into Hollywood on the part of the deep-pocketed Chinese doesn’t come as a shock, especially with Chinese consumers’ increasing appetite for entertainment. The box office surged 30% in 2011 and the industry has a continuing need for content while money men see an opportunity in the lucrative market. Of course, Hollywood has also been making inroads into China recently. I’m hearing that investors are circling Thomas Tull’s Legendary East now that Huayi Brothers Media is no longer in the equation. A reboot of Legendary East’s placing exercise could come in the near future. Relativity also pacted last year to create China/U.S. distribution entity Sky Land Entertainment with Huaxia Film Distribution and Beijing’s SkyLand Film-Television Culture Development Ltd. Lionsgate for its part recently teamed with Celestial Pictures Limited and Saban Capital Group to form Celestial Tiger Entertainment, an independent Asian media company focused on branded pay TV channels, content creation and distribution across Asia.
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