China’s Dalian Wanda Group, which has in recent years aggressively sought to invest heavily in Hollywood, has now halted any plans for overseas investment, according to the company’s chairman Wang Jianlin. Speaking to Chinese financial outlet Caixin, the Chinese billionaire said that Wanda would instead switch its investment focus to the domestic market after the recent regulatory crackdown that has hit the company.
“Wanda will respond to the state’s call and has decided to keep its main investment within China,” Wang told the paper across the weekend.
“The big picture is the state policy and macro-economic environment,” he continued. “Companies have to follow the trend of the national economic development. In recent years, deleveraging and inventory reduction are the main tone of property industry policies, especially after the recent National Financial Work Conference, which highlighted efforts to reduce leverage and debt load.”
It’s the latest step back for the company from its longtime desire for to invest offshore and become a major player in Hollywood. The news comes just a few weeks after Wanda announced it was selling off 13 theme parks to property developer Sunac China for $6.34B and 77 hotels to Guangzhou R&F Properties for $2.95B. The total price tag of that deal sits at $9.4B, making it what is believed to be the second-largest property deal ever in the Middle Kingdom.
“Wanda sold what should be sold and maintained what should be saved,” Wang said. “The tourism assets that were sold always have slow investment return and greater capital pressure. The hotel projects are less profitable. What Wanda keeps are commercial property projects with better profitability.”
Last week, reports surfaced that Chinese financial regulators ordered the country’s biggest banks to stop making loans to Wanda to finance foreign entertainment acquisitions. Regulators advised state-owned lenders that six of Wanda’s foreign acquisitions, including the acquisition of Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B last year and 2012’s buyout of AMC Entertainment, were “subject to government capital restrictions enacted last year.”
Other Wanda deals included in the order U.S. exhibitor Carmike Cinemas, European cinema chain Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, Nordic Cinema Group and UK yacht maker Sunseeker International.