Last month, Chinese copper processing outfit Anhui Xinke New Materials announced its entry into Hollywood in a big way — moving to acquire an 80% stake in Midnight Investments, the owner of Nicolas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures. Today, that deal is off the table. In a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Xinke says it’s terminating the “major asset restructuring motion” after Midnight failed to reply to a repeated request for additional information.
The proposed all-cash deal for the finance, production and sales outfit was set at RMB 2.39B ($350M). Chartier founded Voltage in 2005, growing the library to over 150 features including Oscar winners The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club. Had the transaction with Anhui Xinke gone through, it would have made Voltage the latest Hollywood firm to come under Chinese control during a period when Washington has raised concerns over an acquisition spree by Middle Kingdom conglomerates.
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Other Chinese companies with investments in Hollywood include Wanda, Tang Media Partners, Tencent, Alibaba, Huayi Brothers, Fosun and Hony Capital.
Anhui Xinke has been little involved in the entertainment business, but last month set up Wotaiji International Media, a wholly-owned subsidiary established to buy media assets. It also today announced plans to acquire a 29.9% stake in Hong Kong-based Pegasus Entertainment for $25M. That company was founded by veteran director and actor Raymond Wong in 2009 (All’s Well, Ends Well, Ip Man).
There are new rules in play in China whereby overseas acquisitions outside a company’s core business will be subject to investigation. Many speculate that some moves by non-traditional outfits to get into the movies are a means to boost share prices.
Voltage was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
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