It's Official: China's Wanda to Absorb Legendary Into Publicly Traded Cinema Line Business

Wang Jianlin China Brand Summit GETTY H 2016
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The Chinese conglomorate is consolidating its film businesses, including Thomas Tull's studio, which it acquired for $3.5 billion in January.

Dalian Wanda Group, the Chinese real estate and investment conglomerate headed by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, has clarified its intentions for Thomas Tull's Legendary Entertainment, which it acquired for $3.5 billion in January.

In a regulatory filing posted Thursday, Wanda Group said it plans to fold Legendary Entertainment and Chinese movie-making subsidiary Wanda Pictures into its publicly listed movie theater chain business, Wanda Cinema Line Co.

The company didn't reveal when it intends to begin issuing shares to execute the reverse IPO, but the move has been expected since February, when Wanda began quietly raising $1.5 billion from private investors to offset the cost of acquiring Legendary. In March, a senior executive from Wanda revealed that the company had already exceeded its fundraising target, securing at least $2.4 billion in investment.

Wanda Cinema Line's shares have been suspended on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange since February, pending an acquisition.

Legendary has co-financed such blockbusters as The Dark Knight and Jurassic World as well as producing its own slate of hits (Pacific Rim, 2013; Godzilla, 2015) and misses (Crimson Peak, 2015; Seventh Son, 2015). Upcoming tentpoles include the role-playing game adaptation Warcraft, due out in May, and Chinese co-production The Great Wall, coming in early 2017.