Welcome to our weekly roundup of China entertainment M&A and other related business news.
HS Entertainment Group, a film and TV show production and distribution firm that produced Chinese actress-turned-director Zhao Wei’s So Young, is aiming to raise RMB 900 million through the second-board market.
Founded in 2005, Beijing-based HS Entertainment is still mainly driven by its TV show sector. In 2016, its TV business accounted for 57.5 percent of the company’s total net profit.
HS Entertainment pledged to invest RMB 1.1 billion (US$162 million) into films and TV series in the next two years, including a biographical TV series telling the story of Chinese legendary singer Teresa Teng, and a live-action remake of Japanese animated film Byousoku 5 Centimeter, which was originally released in 2007.
Chinese consortium buys My Talking Tom developer
Chinese entertainment consortium Jinke Entertainment announced on Monday it plans to buy London-based Outfit7 Investments Ltd., the developer of popular game My Talking Tom. The deal is set to be concluded for no less than $1 billion, according to Jinke’s statement this January.
On Friday, Jinke requested for a trading halt on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, due to this “major reconstruction” of the company. The company said in the statement that the trading halt will not last longer than a month.
Outfit7, a gaming developer founded in 2009, claims to have over 5.6 billion downloads of the Talking Tom and Friends franchise since the original My Talking Tom app launched in 2010. Outfit7’s portfolio also includes a CGI animated series and a popular YouTube Channel.
Jinke Entertainment, founded in 2007 as a chemical manufacturer that mainly deals with peroxides, recently expanded into the business of entertainment. This January, it unveiled a partnership with Outfit7 to leverage the Talking Tom IP into expansions in film, television, animation, games, consumer goods, and other areas.
Chinese investors have been active in acquisitions of global gaming industry recently. In 2016, Tencent, the world’s biggest gaming firm, acquired a controlling stake of the game maker Supercell for $8.6 billion. In the same year, Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant, and another Chinese investor bought Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc’s online games unit for $4.4 billion.
China’s richest son Wang Sicong sues NetEase over defamation
Wang Sicong, the only son of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin who owns Dalian Wanda Group, filed a lawsuit against China’s internet giant NetEase for a “false news report,” seeking damages of RMB 200,000 ($30,000).
Wang claimed that a news story on NetEase published this April fabricated that he said Chinese actress Angelababy (Yang Ying) has no acting talent but only earns her popularity through variety shows.
“NetEase made fun of other people using the plaintiff’s name, which damaged the plaintiff’s public image,” the file says.
Wang, 29 years old, is the chairman of Prometheus Capital, a private equity company, and serves as a director of Wanda Group, the entertainment and property titan.
He has previously sued NetEase twice over defamation.In 2015, he sued NetEase over a news story that claims Wang blew RMB 9.9 million ($1.5 million) on a luxury car.
Mahua FunAge sues a Chinese film critic
Beijing Mahua FunAge, a comedy studio that produced the hit Goodbye Mr. Loser, filed a lawsuit against film critic Yang Wen, who said that Goodbye Mr. Loser is a copy of American romance comedy Peggy Sue Got Married, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Mahua FunAge is seeking damages of RMB 2.2 million ($325,000). The case was heard in court on June 28, but no ruling has yet been issued.
Goodbye Mr. Loser grossed RMB 1.4 billion ($206.5 million) in 2015. Its writer Yan Fei said on Weibo, a micro-blogging platform, “I have to tell you that haven’t watched Peggy Sue Got Married.” Yan said the inspiration came from a popular online discussion back in 2010.
The film critic Yang Wen claimed in his article, “After a careful comparison of the two films, I think the idea and the structure of the two films are the same, and the plots and the characters are similar.”