China's Wanda Quashes Speculation Linking it With U.K.'s Odeon

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group

The massive Chinese conglomorate runs more movie screens than any other business on the planet, but the U.K. cinema line is not on its hit list.

After widespread reports that it was closing in on acquiring U.K. cinema chain Odeon, Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group took the unusual step on Tuesday of publicly disavowing the buyout rumors. Terra Firma has been looking to unload Odeon and speculation over a would-be buyer has been rife in the U.K. business press.

"Wanda has no intention of purchasing Odeon cinema chain," Wanda said in a statement.

Wanda, founded by China's richest individual, Wang Jianlin, owns China's largest cinema chain, along with AMC, the second-largest chain in North America. Combined, Wanda operates more movie screens than any other business on the planet.

But it appears Odeon is not among the company's myriad expansion targets.

"No individual from Wanda Group has ever been in contact with Odeon, nor has any individual or third-party organization been appointed on behalf of the Wanda Group to engage in contact with Odeon regarding any matters related to the acquisition of the cinema chain," the Wanda statement continued.

Last month the group paid $650 million for the World Triathlon Competition, which runs the Ironman events. The company also owns a movie studio, amusement parks and Sunseeker, the luxury mega-yacht builder.