China's Wanda Cinema Line Wins Approval for IPO to Raise Up to $325 Million

Wang Jianlin Dalian Wanda Chairman H

Wanda's cinema unit will use the cash to build theaters

China's biggest cinema chain, Wanda Cinema Line Co., a subsidiary of Dalian Wanda Group, has won approval from regulators for an initial public offering in which it hopes to raise up to $325.6 million.

Dalian Wanda Group, headed by Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin, is a giant property company and the world largest owner and operator of movie theaters. In 2012, the company bought North America's second biggest theater chain, AMC Entertainment, for $2.6 billion.

The listing approval was announced by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and Wanda Cinema plans to use the bulk of its IPO proceeds to build theaters, as well as supplement cash flow. Wanda currently has 150 movie theaters with 1,315 screens in more than 80 Chinese cities.

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It comes as Wang is gearing up an IPO for his real estate unit, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties. Both listings are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

A previous effort in July to file an IPO on the Shenzhen stock exchange was suspended because of insufficient documents.

In August the group said it was spending $1.2 billion to develop its Hollywood presence after it won a bid for a plot of land at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, for the HQ of its U.S. entertainment business.

The cinema line's total revenue from January to June this year was $410 million, while total revenue last year was $660 million.

Wanda Cinema is 68 percent owned by Wanda Investment, in which Wang owns 98 percent. The other two percent is owned by his oldest son Wang Sicong, while his four brothers own another 1.4 percent stake.