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Chairman of China's Wanda Group Buys Picasso Painting for $28.2 Million

Wang Jianlin - P 2012
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Wang Jianlin

China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, whose company owns AMC Entertainment and is building a $8.2 billion studio in China, placed his winning bid by phone from Beijing.

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and China's richest man, continued his buying streak this week, picking up a Picasso at a Christie's auction in New York for $28.2 million.

The painting, Picasso's "Claude et Paloma," was part of a collection of works that belonged to the art dealer Jan Krugier, who died in 2008. The sale price exceeded Christie's estimate considerably. The auction house had expected it to go for $9 million to $12 million.

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While this splurge was a private move on Wang's part, his real estate and media conglomerate, Wanda Group, has been spending liberally on culture and entertainment assets for the past year.

He first attracted the notice of the entertainment world when Wanda bought AMC Entertainment, North America's second-largest cinema chain, for $2.6 billion in 2012. He then turned his attention to Britain, dropping $1.57 billion on the purchase of luxury British yacht builder Sunseeker (before buying the whole firm, Wang had been celebrated in China as the first local tycoon to purchase a mega-yacht) and investing in a 160-room high-rise hotel project in London. And in May, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Harvey Weinstein in attendance, he announced plans to build the world's most expensive film studio -- $8.2 billion – in the northeastern Chinese port city of Qingdao.

In an effort to forge closer ties with Hollywood, Wanda recently donated $20 million to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the movie museum that is to be added to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Wanda is expected to become increasingly involved in Hollywood film investment and has announced interest in adding to its cinema circuit -- already the world's largest -- with the purchase of a European exhibition chain. The company has said it has $5 billion on hand for additional overseas acquisitions. 

Forbes estimates Wang's net worth at $14.1 billion.

Christie's said he placed his winning bid for the Picasso by phone from China.