China's Wanda Group Eyeing IPO for Cinema Chain

Wang Jianlin

The country's largest exhibitor, Wanda Cinema Line, plans to raise $325 million via a listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange two years after the real estate conglomerate behind it acquired AMC Entertainment.

Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group is preparing an IPO for its cinema chain on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

According to a filing made public by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the company, headed by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, plans to sell up to 60 million shares to raise around $325 million (2 billion yuan).

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Dalian Wanda Group is 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.

At the time, many viewed the acquisition as a prestige buy on the part of Wang who had expressed interest in expanding his business internationally, but it proved to be a windfall. Thanks to a record year for Hollywood films in 2013 and an overall rising stock market during the period, Wang saw the value of his controlling stake in AMC more than double in the 18 months after the purchase.

Wanda Cinema Line's revenue rose to $645 million in 2013, meanwhile, from $484 million the year prior. Its profit climbed to $97 million, compared with $62.6 million in 2012.

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According to the IPO prospectus, Wanda Cinema is 68 percent owned by Wanda Investment, in which  Wang owns 98 percent. The other 2 percent are owned by his oldest son Wang Sicong.

At the end of 2013, Wanda Cinema owned 142 movie cinemas in 72 cities in China. It has continued to expand.

Forbes estimated Wang's net worth at $15.1 billion on its 2014 billionaires list.