Billion-Dollar China Deal for Dick Clark Productions in Jeopardy: Reports

On-again, off-again seems to be the new deal for Chinese acquisitions of Hollywood properties.

One of the biggest deals involving China and Hollywood so far appears to be on the rocks, with Dalian Wanda’s US$1 billion acquisition of Dick Clark Productions looking like it will not go forward, and Reuters reported.

First announced in November 2016, Wanda’s buy of the producer of the Golden Globes awards show and Miss America pageant was seen as another major advancement — or encroachment — by Chinese entities into Hollywood. Wanda had already acquired AMC Entertainment in 2012, and bought Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in January 2016.

But the Dick Clark deal appears to have gone awry over concerns that it would not receive necessary regulatory approval from the Trump Administration, and the inability to transfer capital payments out of China, along with a price tag seen as too high for the property, are all contributing to the deal failing. The report is attributed to “two individuals familiar with the matter told TheWrap,” the website wrote.

The deal could still happen, but would get a hard look from the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, according to a third source cited by TheWrap.

Despite numerous recent reports that China appears poised to take over Hollywood, the record for such deals is checkered at best. Last week, the owner of English soccer club Aston Villa, Tony Xia, was linked with a $100 million bid for Millennium Films, producer of The Expendables series. Aside from Wanda’s acquisitions, Huahua Media and Shanghai Media Group recently invested $1 billion in Paramount Pictures, but denied it was a step towards an outright purchase. A proposed $350 million acquisition of The Hurt Locker producer Voltage Pictures by an Anhui province mining firm was scuttled in December 2016, just a month after it was announced.