Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. ("Wanda Group") today announced the execution of a definitive Merger Agreement with US Legendary Entertainment ("Legendary") at a signing ceremony in Beijing. Wanda Group announced that it has acquired Legendary for no more than $3.5 billion (around RMB 23 billion) in cash, marking China's largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date. Thomas Tully will remain as Chairman and CEO of Legendary and will continue to be responsible for its day-to-day operations and will significantly participate in the success of the company with Wanda.

The advisors on the deal were Joshua B. Grode Partner, Irell & Manella LLP who advised Wanda, and Marty Willhite Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel, Legendary Entertainment who advised Legendary. Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO was actively involved in managing the deal with the aforementioned.

Legendary is a leading film production company that owns film, television, digital and comics divisions. Legendary has delivered many of the world's blockbusters, including the Batman Begins, Inception, The Hangover, Jurassic World, 300: Rise of an Empire, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, and more. Legendary's film productions have grossed more than $12 billion worldwide at the box office. Upcoming releases include Warcraft, based on Blizzard Entertainment's award-winning universe, and The Great Wall, which is set to be the largest film shot entirely in China for global distribution. Mr. Tull said this in a statement.

"I am honored to be a part of the Wanda family. Together, Wanda and Legendary will create a completely new international entertainment company. There is an ever growing demand for quality entertainment content worldwide, particularly in China, and we will combine our respective strengths to bring an even better entertainment experience to the world's audiences."

Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, commented on the deal.

"The acquisition of Legendary will make Wanda Film Holdings Company the highest revenue-generating film company in the world, increasing Wanda's presence in China and the US, the world's two largest markets. Wanda's businesses will encompass the full scope of film production, exhibition and distribution, enhancing Wanda's core competitiveness and amplifying our voice in the global film market."

After the acquisition, Wanda will help Legendary increase its market opportunities, especially in the fast-growing China market, enabling Legendary to expedite the growth of the Company. Some speculate that this acquisition means Pacific Rim 2, which had its biggest opening in China, may be back on after it was delayed indefinitely. What do you think? Is China taking over everything? Or is this a good move for everyone involved, including moviegoers?

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange