Chinese Company, Owner of Aston Villa Football Club, Interested in Millennium Pictures Buy

A $100 million deal for the producers of The Expendables would be a bargain for the Shenzhen-based Recon.

Aston Villa Football Club owner Tony Xia and his publicly-listed Recon Wenyuan Cable Co., are looking for their next big buy: Hollywood’s Millennium Films, producers of The Expendables series, with a possible price tag of US$100 million, according to a Bloomberg report this week.

If Millennium Films were to sell for that price, it would appear to be quite a discount. The privately-held production company generated $800 million from the three Expendables films alone. It also produced Jason Statham’s Mechanic series, which grossed double in China what it did in North America. Statham stars in Millennium’s upcoming adaptation of shark novel Meg, which co-stars local luminary Li Bingbing. Unconfirmed reports indicate a fourth Expendable film could shoot in China.

Recon Wenyuan Cable Co. is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in southern China, and is officially a manufacturer of cable and wiring equipment. Xia acquired a controlling stake in the company in October 2016, after leading a consortium that bought Aston Villa in May 2016, for just under $75 million. Relegated from the English Premier League, the Birmingham-based soccer team is currently in 16th place out of 24 teams in the English Championship League.

Despite all the heat and light given off by potential China deals for Hollywood properties, such deals have both hit and missed. In January 2016, Dalian Wanda purchased Legendary Pictures for $3.5 billion. More recently, Huahua Media and Shanghai Media Group invested $1 billion in Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures, but denied that the investment is a move towards acquisition. However, a proposed acquisition of Voltage Pictures by an Anhui province mining firm was scuttled.

Los Angeles-based Millennium has declined to comment on the reported sale.