China’s richest man Wang Jianlin is stepping up his spending spree in the American entertainment industry after sealing a deal to buy the company behind the Golden Globes awards.
In an announcement on Thursday, Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group said it has finalized a deal to buy Dick Clark Productions for $1 billion.
The acquisition adds to the growing list of Hollywood acquisitions be China’s biggest property developer, which has set sight elsewhere for growth as a result of a weakening market in its home countries. It also marked the Chinese company’s first foray into the television production industry.
“Obtaining top television production rights brings about complementary and coordinated development for Wanda’s current focus on the film, tourisms and sports industries,” Wanda said in a statement.
Dick Clark Productions is the brain behind the Golden Globes, one of the most high-profile award events in the film and television industry. It also runs the American Music Awards and the “Miss America” beauty pageant.
The Chinese conglomerate already owns AMC Theatres, the US’s second-biggest cinema chain, which it bought for $650 million in July. In January, it acquired Legendary Entertainment, maker of hits such as The Dark Knight Rises, in a $3.5 billion deal.
Wanda also made public a movie partnership with Sony Pictures in September.
Dick Clark Productions, named for renowned U.S. television host Dick Clark, was acquired in 2012 by a consortium, which included investment firm Guggenheim Partners.
The American entertainment industry has readily welcomed investment from companies of Chinese origin in recently years. Direct investment by these firms was estimated at $4 billion in the period from 2000 to 2015 by Rhodium Group.
Total direct investment by Chinese corporations in the U.S. entertainment industry rose sharply at the beginning of this year when Wanda bought Legendary.
The real estate company considers entertainment a major potential driver of growth in the months ahead, as it battles with slowing market in China. However, concerns have been raised in America over the intrusion into the country’s entertainment industry by a conglomerate which has expressed support for control of Western imports in its home country.
Earlier in the year, Wanda opened a theme park named Wanda World to compete with the new attraction opened by Disney in Shanghai.
U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns over creative freedom as well as possible use of acquired American companies for promotion of Chinese propaganda.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has been asked by a group of legislators to look closely into takeovers by Chinese companies. Some Congress members questioned Wanda’s actions late September, describing it as a “state champion” for China’s government.
Wang, the richest man in China by many measures, boasts of net worth estimated at more than $32 billion. He has described himself as an “angel” investor who is interested in helping U.S. companies to benefit from the enormous market in China, according to The Guardian.
Wanda said in its release that Dick Clark Productions will remain completely under the control of its existing management. It revealed it “has signed a long-term operation target agreement with the management.”