Sun, Jan 28, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Tencent to buy a stake in studio behind ‘Terminator’

MISSION: POSSIBLE:The companies did not provide details, but a source said Tencent would pay more than US$100m for a 5 to 10 percent stake in Skydance

AFP, BEIJING

Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) on Friday said it would take a stake in the US production company behind the Mission: Impossible and Terminator series, marking China’s latest incursion into Hollywood.

The deal would give Tencent the opportunity to cofinance Skydance Media films, which would benefit from the Chinese firm’s distribution and marketing in the world’s second-largest movie market, the firms said in a statement.

It did not provide financial details, but the Los Angeles Times cited an unidentified source familiar with the deal as saying that Tencent had paid more than US$100 million for a stake of 5 to 10 percent.

Founded in 2010, Skydance has produced 15 films, most in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, including the Star Trek franchise. It is preparing to release sequels to the Mission: Impossible, Terminator and Top Gun sagas in the next two years.

Tencent has become one of the world’s most valuable companies, raking in profits from its addictive mobile game Honor of Kings and WeChat (微信), China’s most popular all-purpose social media app that has nearly 1 billion users. It last year joined the exclusive club of companies with a market capitalization of more than US$500 billion.

Tencent has already made inroads into the movie business, investing in last year’s Hollywood blockbuster Kong: Skull Island, while it also has control of one of China’s major movie ticketing services.

Its partnership with Skydance “also supports collaboration on other media initiatives, including television, interactive and virtual reality,” the statement said.

The move comes after major conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co (萬達集團), whose interests range from real estate to entertainment, snatched up Legendary Entertainment LLC — maker of Jurassic World and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy — for US$3.5 billion, as well as US-based cinema chain AMC Theatres.

However, it also follows warnings from Beijing against the “irrational investments” overseas by Chinese companies, particularly in the movie industry.

A financing deal between Huahua Media (華樺傳媒) and Paramount Hollywood studios valued at US$1 billion in November last year fell through as a result of the regulatory tightening.

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