E-commerce giant, Alibaba along with Beijing Cultural Investment have bought a total of 12.8% stake in Wanda Film Holding Co Ltd for $1.2b. According to reports, Alibaba is to pay 4.68 billion yuan for a 7.66 percent stake while Beijing Cultural Investment Holdings, controlled by the Beijing government, will pay 3.12 billion yuan for a 5.11 percent stake.
Alibaba and Cultural Investment agreed to pay 51.96 yuan a share, in-line with the 52.04 yuan last closing price in July.
Billionaire Ma is competing with Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma Huateng, as both invest in movie and TV production. In addition to the investments, Wanda Film will cooperate with Alibaba and Cultural Investment in areas including film distribution, marketing, financing as well as pre-screening advertising and online ticketing, according to the filing.
Wanda Film owns and operates about 500 theatres and 4,000 screens on the mainland. The investment could open the door to future partnerships between Alibaba and Wanda’s other showbiz units, such as Hollywood production company Legendary Entertainment, and may expand the e-commerce company’s data bank through access to Wanda’s film-goers and their customer data.