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Dalian Wanda Group Said to Kill Dick Clark Productions Acquisition

Variety logo Variety 3/9/2017 Cynthia Littleton
© Provided by Variety

Dalian Wanda Group’s $1 billion acquisition of Dick Clark Productions appears to be scrapped, a casualty of the Chinese government’s efforts to curb the flow of capital out of the country.

Industry sources said Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin had pressed hard for the greenlight to complete the deal reached in November. Dick Clark Productions, owned by Eldridge Industries, was approached by Wanda earlier in the year. The surprisingly rich offer from Wanda forced Eldridge to open up an auction process on Dick Clark Productions even though no other contender came close to Wanda’s $1 billion bid.

The deal had been expected to close in February. The first sign of trouble came in late January. Industry insiders chalked it up to nervousness about the political climate for Chinese companies investing in the U.S. under the new Trump administration.

But it has also become increasingly clear that the Chinese government is taking steps to stop the capital flight that has seen major congloms like Wanda and Alibaba spend freely on acquisitions and joint ventures.

Reps for Wanda and Eldridge Industries declined to comment.

Dick Clark Productions is home to such awards show franchises as the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards and ACM Awards. It produces ABC’s annual “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special among other live events. The purchase of DCP would have given Wanda its first toehold in unscripted and live event production in the U.S. market.

Wanda in the past two years has acquired exhibition giant AMC Entertainment and Legendary Entertainment. Wang Jianlin said in January the company expected to spend $5 billion to $10 billion on acquisitions this year, most of it focused on entertainment and sports.

Dick Clark Productions was acquired by Guggenheim Partners for $370 million in 2012. The company changed hands again in 2015 when investor Todd Boehly left Guggenheim, taking DCP, the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and other assets with him to the new Eldridge Industries banner.

(Pictured: 2017 Golden Globe Awards)

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