AMC Entertainment owner hunting for more acquisitions

Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group Co., said he intends to buy two non-production film companies in the U.S. that are worth more than $1 billion, part of a push to expand the company’s movie business, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Wanda, the Beijing-based real estate and entertainment conglomerate that owns AMC Entertainment Holdings headquartered in Leawood, will then pursue one of the Big Six movie studios, Wang told Reuters in an interview. He said he’d be interested in Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures or any other major film studio.

Wang has been on a $16 billion shopping spree this year, including deals by AMC, which agreed to acquire Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group for $1.2 billion and has offered about $1.2 billion for Carmike Cinemas Inc.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified people, reported last month that Wanda has held discussions to acquire a 49 percent stake in Paramount Pictures. Most of Wanda’s investments involve entertainment assets, part of Wang’s plan to create a mega-company with $200 billion in market value and $100 billion of annual sales by the end of the decade.

Acquiring one of the top six Hollywood studios is required “if we are to build a real movie empire,” Wang told Reuters.

Besides Paramount, the Big Six studios are the film units of Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp., Sony Corp., Time Warner Inc. and 21st Century Fox Inc. Viacom has been exploring the sale of a minority stake, but its controlling owners, the Redstone family, have opposed a full sale of the studio.