Time Warner, China Media Capital Unveil Investment Partnership

2012-43 REP Jeff Bewkes P

Time Warner's chairman and CEO scores a new five-year deal that could earn him an additional $30 million in stock bonuses if the company thrives.

UPDATED: The goal is to "capitalize on China’s rapidly expanding media sector as digital devices proliferate," the companies say.

Time Warner and China Media Capital, a Chinese investment fund focused on media and entertainment, on Thursday announced the formation of a strategic investment partnership.

The announcement was made in the Western Chinese city of Chengdu where business leaders gathered for the 2013 Fortune Global Forum.

The alliance pairs the content company, led by CEO Jeff Bewkes and home of such companies as Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Broadcasting, with the investment firm that is dedicated to the media and entertainment sector. 

The goal of the partnership is "to capitalize on China’s rapidly expanding media sector as digital devices proliferate and China’s demand for high-quality content across multiple platforms rises," the companies said.

"China's media and entertainment industry is undergoing a profound change on various fronts including technology, creativity and commercialization." said Ruigang Li, chairman of CMC. “We are pleased to forge this partnership with Time Warner, a global power of television, film, and digital content, to jointly explore innovative ways of creating premium content for the new generation of consumers at the age of Internet and mobile, which will further contribute to the dynamic industry development in China."

“This partnership with CMC and Ruigang Li will give us a unique window into one of the world’s largest and fastest growing media and entertainment markets,” said Bewkes. “Increasing our global presence is one of Time Warner’s strategic priorities, and China is one of the most attractive territories in which we operate, but it is complex. This alliance will give all our businesses a savvy and accomplished partner as we strive to bring our leading brands and storytelling to people everywhere, across a wide range of devices.”

Chinese box office revenue is projected to reach $4.4 billion this year, and online video revenue is projected to reach $2 billion the companies said, citing forecasts.

CMC has invested in such ventures as DreamWorks Animation’s Chinese joint venture, and the firm previously also acquired the Star China assets from News Corp. Li was previously the CEO of Shanghai Media Group, where he was credited with transforming the regional broadcaster SMG into one of China’s largest media companies.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

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