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Bona Film Raises $360 Million in Funding Round Led by Alibaba, Tencent

Variety logo Variety 12/21/2016 Patrick Frater
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China’s two largest Internet companies, Alibaba and Tencent have led an injection of $360 million (RMB2.5 billion) into leading Chinese distribution and production company Bona Film Group.

The new funding round gives Bona an implied valuation of $2.15 billion (RMB15 billion.) That is more than double the figure when the company took itself off the NASDAQ stock market in April this year.

Other companies in the funding round include CITIC GoldStone Investment, China Development Bank Capital Corp. (CDB Capital), Zhongzhi Enterprise, CMB International, giant bank ICBC; and Macrolink Group. Existing Bona investor, Fosun International also participated.

Alibaba Pictures Group, Tencent, Fosun International, Sequoia Capital and SAIF Investments were among the investors alongside Bona’s founder Yu Dong in April’s going private maneuver.

Bona, which has production and distribution credits including “The Taking of Tiger Mountain,” the Chinese remake of “Bride Wars,” and Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk,” became the first Chinese film company to list on an overseas stock market when it joined NASDAQ in 2010. But as U.S. investors fell out of love with Chinese equities, Bona’s valuation was overshadowed by rival companies listed in China and Hong Kong, where local investors remain enthusiastic for entertainment industry properties. It is widely assumed in investment circles that Bona will attempt to relist its shares on a Chinese bourse as soon as possible.

The company pioneered the use of film funds in China and in November last year announced that, with The Seelig Group, it was to become a co-financier on a slate of Fox movies including “The Martian.” Yu is also one of the most respected analysts of the Chinese film market.

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