China's Huayi, Enlight Plan to Raise $854 Million for Expansion Plans

9:20 PM PST 06/25/2014 by Clifford Coonan
Illustration by: Lars Leetaru

The two power players' separate moves come at the end of a busy week for capital raising in China, after Fosun said it would invest significant capital into Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 project.

SHANGHAI — Two of China’s leading private film and TV companies, Huayi Brothers Media and Beijing Enlight Media, have unveiled separate plans to raise a total of $854 million to help them expand in the booming film business. The funds will come via private placement offerings.

Enlight Media plans to raise around $451 million through the sale of 140 million new shares, including nearly $370 million for movies and more than $80 million for TV content.

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Enlight has made no secret of its international ambitions, which it hopes to build using its strong domestic base. In 2012, its low-budget comedy Lost in Thailand took $202 million here.

Enlight said it will make 32 movies in the period from June 2014 to May 2017, investing a total of $550 million.

Earlier this month Enlight imported the Rising Star format for the Chinese market.

The Shenzhen stock exchange-listed Huayi Brothers, which was recently linked to Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 venture in China, said it plans to raise 2.5 billion yuan, or $403 million, from the issue of 120 million shares, and will use the capital to invest in film and TV projects and pay bank loans.

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Huayi’s capital raise includes $320 million for the funding of 12 movies and five TV series between June 2014 and December 2016. It includes $80 million for repaying bank loans.

“Financial strength is the best guarantee for the scale and quality of film and TV projects,” Huayi Brothers said in a statement. “This offering will further enhance the company’s financial strength, break through capital restraints and provide capital support for film and TV projects, in order to improve the company’s strength in the film and TV business and enhance the industry competitiveness and market share."

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It’s been a busy week for capital raising in China. The Chinese investment fund Fosun, headed by venture capitalist supremo Guo Guangcheng, has put hundreds of millons of dollars into Robinov’s venture, developing digital and TV content, with Huayi Brothers taking part at a later date.

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