Golden Harvest reaps as it sells


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Beijing-based talent agency and production house Chengtian Entertainment said Thursday that it has bought a 24.78% stake in Golden Harvest Entertainment, one of Asia's leading exhibitor-distributors, for HK$202 million ($26 million).

The sale of more than 31 million shares of the Hong Kong-based and -listed company by chairman Raymond Chow and others makes upstart Chengtian Golden Harvest's largest shareholder and signals the storied Hong Kong giant's return to film production.

Chengtian founder and chairman Wu Kebo and four others from the Beijing company will join the Golden Harvest board as part of the deal.

Although Chow will resign his post as chairman, he will remain a consultant to the company he founded in 1970 and built up on the shoulders of superstars Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, helping both cross over into Hollywood with such titles as "Fists of Fury" and "Police Story," respectively.

"Raymond Chow has made a huge contribution to the Hong Kong entertainment industry over the past few decades. Under his guidance, Golden Harvest continues to achieve great results and win many prominent awards. We are honored that Raymond Chow will remain as the company's consultant to offer strategic advice on the company's development," Wu said from Hong Kong.

Chengtian appeared on the scene in Asia in 2004 and began to make a splash last year when it received $20 million in backing from Japanese film and music company Avex and quickly became involved in the biggest-budgeted pictures shooting in China, including Peter Chan's "Warlords" and John Woo's "Red Cliffs."

Golden Harvest's other big stakeholders include billionaire Li Ka-shing (17%), EMI and Norman Cheng Tung-hon (12%) and Chan (5%), the company's Hong Kong stock exchange records show.