China’s Wanda Group is contemplating a deal that could give it control of Dick Clark Productions, which broadcasts the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest and other splashy events.
Although there’s no formal offer, we’re told the owner of AMC Entertainment and Legendary Entertainment is in the lead to buy the production company, with a valuation of about $1 billion. Talks for DCP, controlled by former Guggenheim Partners president Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries, are becoming more serious after more than a year of conversations that have run hot and cold.
Boehly bought DCP last year when he stepped down as Guggenheim’s president, but remained on its executive council. He told Reuters in June that he had hired Moelis & Co and Goldman Sachs to review his media holdings after he received an unsolicited offer for one of them.
Guggenheim paid $380 million for DCP when it bought the company in 2012 from RedZone Capital Management.
Although the Golden Globes and the New Year’s Eve show are DCP’s better known productions, it also is responsible for the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards broadcasts and co-created So You Think You Can Dance.
Wanda has been actively building its collection of entertainment-related assets. AMC is on course to become the world’s largest exhibition company with pending deals to buy UK-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas, and Carmike Cinemas.
The Chinese power seemed to have the inside track to buy a 49% stake in Paramount this year when it was being shopped by former Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. Viacom’s board recently scrapped any sale plans.
On Friday, Wanda confirmed Deadline’s scoop that it made a strategic alliance with Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group to co-finance what they described as “upcoming high-profile tentpole releases in China.” This was Wanda’s first multi-picture partnership with a major studio.
“As the global film industry continues to explode, Wanda will seek additional strategic alliances with content companies to foster international collaboration,” the company’s Jack Gao said.