Hollywood to Be Wooed by $800 Million Chinese Media Fund

Bruno Wu - P 2012
Da Xiong

Harvest Alternative Investment group and Sun Redrock Investment Group launch private equity fund; studio movies such as "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" and producer deals among investment targets.

LONDON -- The Hollywood majors and tentpole productions are among the future investment partner targets for a heavyweight Chinese media fund created by China's Harvest Alternative Investment group and Sun Redrock Investment Group.

The $800 million-fueled private equity fund, the Harvest Seven Stars Media Fund, aims to invest in studio projects with an eye to bringing them to the wider Asian market and mainland China.

Redrock Investment Group, founded by Chinese media entrepreneur Bruno Wu, and Harvest are currently ironing out deals with "major filmmakers and filmed entertainment providers" to invest in English and Chinese language content both for Asia and with the global box office potential.

Wu, speaking on a video conference call with Hong Kong and London, said he expects to be able to detail deals with Hollywood producers and filmmakers "within the next 30 days or so."

The fund, currently "within sight" of raising the $800 million, aims to invest in Hollywood and beyond, according to Wu. One of the main factors in investing in Hollywood output will be that the projects are "roundly acceptable to Asian audiences," Wu said.

He cited current movies such as Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and the Sherlock Holmes franchise from Warner Bros. as being the sort of tentpole the fund would be interested in investing in.

The fund will operate in three distinct areas - mergers and acquitisions, distribution in Asia and movie content either through equity investment in companies or operating capital investment -- and aims to make its first investments in May this year.

Harvest Seven Stars Media is being advised by Creative Artists Agency’s Beijing office.

Harvest Alternative Investment Group and Sun Redrock Investment Group boast over 70 years of experience in the Chinese media and finance sectors.

Wu said the new partnership emphasizes "our confidence in the strength and potential of the Chinese media industry and the wealth of talent within it. We look forward to cultivating this new joint venture and seeing it grow into one of the world’s leading media funds.”

Harvest Alternative Investment Group’s Lindsay Wright added:  "The addition of this partnership to the Harvest Alternative Investment Group further supports our goal of developing a leading alternative product platform in China and globally.”

Hollywood players are being targeted with the promise of established Chinese media players at the fund offering them a way in to China and Asia at large and help with developing product for the market.

"The overwhelming majority of the titles released by Hollywood works in China," Wu said. "But it doesn't work in reverse. By that I mean big Chinese movies and stars aren't seen as widely outside China."

Wu said one of the ambitions would be to develop globally outward looking projects with Hollywood partners also.

Harvest Alternative Investment Group is the alternative investment arm of Harvest Fund Management founded in 1999 marking it out as one of the first 10 fund management institutions authorized by the Chinese government as part of its strategy to open up and develop its financial sector.

Sun Redrock Investment is part of Sun Media Group founded by Wu and Yang Lan operating five major divisions including Redrock Capital, Sun Enterprises Group, Sun Publishing Group and Sun Culture Foundation, a charitable foundation which promotes philanthropy and corporate social responsibility in China.