Wen grabs stake in Big Media


HONG KONG -- Chinese investor Brandon Wen's purchase of a HK$80 million ($10.2 million) stake in production house Big Media will bring new life into the Hong Kong movie business, a Mei Ah executive said Monday.

"We will welcome any new investors because right now the local film industry needs newcomers," said Patrick Tong, managing director of Mei Ah Entertainment Group, of which Big was an associated company prior to the sale.

Mei Ah Entertainment Group reported the share sale to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday. The sale represents a 20.8% stake in Big, making Wen the single largest shareholder.

"We left Big after one year's time and we doubled our investment, so it was a good opportunity to realize profit for the shareholders," Tong said.

Big Media had a starting capital of $5.75 million when it entered the Hong Kong production scene in March of last year with a 43.7% stake owned by Mei Ah, which also provides a distribution outlet for Big's titles.

At the time of the sale to Wen, Mei Ah's stake was a little more than 23%, with their current interest in Big hovering at a 2.3% stake.

Tong added that Mei Ah's business relationship with Big remains the same despite having divested the greater portion of their shares in the company. Mei Ah will still acquire all of the titles produced by Big and act as their worldwide distributor.

Mei Ah are in talks to enter co-production agreements on several film titles, said Tong, adding that they would consider the option of putting up capital for the production of Big Media titles if required.