China’s Dalian Wanda Group announced on Friday its $1 billion US acquisition of Dick Clark Productions, the TV company that produces the Golden Globes and the Miss America pageant.
One of China’s most important conglomerates, Wanda already owns AMC Theatres and bought Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in January. It also announced a movie partnership in September with Sony Pictures.
Wanda’s push into the U.S. entertainment industry has raised alarm among some American lawmakers concerned about creative freedom and the promotion of Chinese propaganda. A group of legislators in September asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review Chinese takeovers.
Wanda Group, China’s largest private property developer, has made entertainment a major focus of its growth in recent years and spoken openly about its nationalistic mission to fend off Western imports in the Chinese market and become a globally recognized Chinese entertainment brand. The deals also come as Wanda quickly diversifies away from China’s weakening real estate market. Its chairman, Wang Jianlin, is China’s richest man by most measures, with an estimated net worth exceeding $32 billion.
Wanda said in its statement Friday that Dick Clark Productions’ existing management “will remain in its entirety,” and that both sides had reached a long-term operating agreement. It expects Dick Clark Productions to show “strong increases” in revenue and profit every year, but did not say whether its agreement with management was contingent on revenue targets.
The namesake company of legendary American television host Dick Clark, who died in 2012, was purchased that same year by a group including investment firm Guggenheim Partners. It produces several awards shows, such as the American Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the countdown show in New York recently hosted by Ryan Seacrest.
Wanda’s statement said it expected to find ways to coordinate development between Dick Clark Productions and its previous deals in film, tourism and sports.