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Chinese giant ‘cuts deal for Legendary’

ColonyChinese conglom Dalian Wanda Group is reported to have taken a majority stake in US studio Legendary Entertainment.

Reuters quoted an unnamed source who claimed the deal, which values Legendary at between US$3 billion and US$4 billion, had been done.

Dalian Wanda already owns North America’s second-largest movie theatre chain AMC Entertainment, but this would be its biggest move into content production.

Legendary is best known for films such as The Dark Knight, the Hangover franchise and Man of Steel, but has pushed heavily into television through a division that former studio execs Bruce Rosenblum and Michael Grindon lead.  

The new agreement means Dalian Wanda will own just over 50% of Legendary, with the latter’s founder and CEO, Thomas Tull, and other management owning the rest of the shares, according to Reuters’ source.

Other Legendary stakeholders such as Japan’s SoftBank, which invested US$250 million in 2013, and investment firm Waddell & Reed have reportedly agreed to sell their shareholdings. These firms were not available for comment.

Neither Legendary or Dalian Wanda could be contacted for comment this morning.

A deal could be announced as early as next week.

Legendary’s TV properties include USA Network’s Colony (pictured); Syfy’s The Expanse, which was this week commissioned for a second run; Netflix;s Judd Apatow comedy Love; and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, which is for multichannel network Fullscreen.

It has also hired CJ Entertainment & Media exec Alex Oe; Grindon’s former Sony Pictures Television colleague John McMahon; Warner Bros.’s Carlos Sanchez and literary agent Lauren Heller Whitney to oversee scripted. Further to that, the firm also bought US producer Asylum Entertainment.