Alibaba's Jack Ma Reportedly Meeting With Hollywood Studios to Buy Online Content
Billionaire Jack Ma is stepping up his Hollywood dealmaking push, leading a team of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) executives meeting with studios to acquire online content, people with knowledge of the situation said.
Alibaba founder Ma will meet in coming days with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF), Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures, Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros., Sony Corp. (6758) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba will seek deals that give it the right to distribute U.S. movies and TV shows at home, or invest in studio stakes, the people said.
Armed with $25 billion from a September initial public offering, Alibaba is on the prowl for entertainment it can sell to Chinese consumers through its set-top boxes, which also offer goods from its e-commerce site, the world’s largest. Like Chinese peers Fosun International Ltd. and Dalian Wanda Group Corp., Alibaba has expanded ties in Hollywood while navigating challenges such as piracy and censorship in mainland China.
“Entertainment and film is a very important part of Alibaba’s ecosystem,” said Alex Wang, a Beijing-based analyst at Internet consulting group IResearch. “The film industry is a really lucrative business, which will become an important growth driver for Alibaba.”
Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg
Billionaire Jack Ma is stepping up his Hollywood dealmaking push, leading a team of... Read More
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Fosun, which invested $200 million in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 in June, has held talks to invest in Lions Gate, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Alibaba reached an agreement in July to stream titles like “The Hunger Games” films and the TV series “Mad Men” in China from the studio, run from Santa Monica, California.
Wanda, which controls U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC), acquired land in Beverly Hills, California, in August to set up an office to do deals in Hollywood.
Accompanying Ma to Los Angeles will be Liu Chunning, vice president of Alibaba’s digital and entertainment unit, and Zhang Qiang, head of Alibaba Pictures, one of the people said. They are expected to meet with some of Hollywood’s most senior executives, including Paramount Chairman Brad Grey and Michael Lynton, chief executive officer of Sony Entertainment.
Florence Shih, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Alibaba, declined to comment. Officials at the U.S. studios either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Shares of Alibaba rose to a one-month high in New York. The stock rose 2.6 percent to $94.03 as of 1:49 p.m. in New York, bringing its advance to 38 percent since its IPO. The company is scheduled to issue its first earnings statement as a public company on Nov. 4. Lions Gate gained 3.6 percent to $31.46. Through yesterday, it was down 4.1 percent this year.
Hollywood is looking for ways to tap into the growth in China, now the second-largest theatrical market in the world, forging partnerships for individual films and sometimes larger deals. China’s market for online video probably will reach 17.8 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) this year and then double to 36.6 billion yuan in 2017, according to IResearch.
Studios that control films and TV shows sell distributors such as Alibaba the rights to show them online or on TV for a fee, often by territory. Users of Alibaba’s set-top boxes can watch TV channels and high-definition movies, shop online and play games on the device.
In April, Alibaba led a $1.22 billion investment in online video site Youku Tudou Inc. (YOKU)
Alibaba agreed in March to pay HK$6.24 billion ($800 million) for a 60 percent stake in ChinaVision Media Group Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Alibaba said in August it discovered accounting irregularities at the company, now called Alibaba Pictures Group.
China’s set-top box industry is facing increased government scrutiny. Alibaba’s Tmall MagicBox notified users in August that it would update its system and delete some applications in accordance with regulations from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
The deleted third-party applications included video apps from Sohu.com, Youku Tudou, IQiyi.com and others, the Beijing Morning Post reported in August.
Chinese investors, who have been pouring money into New York real estate, have finally nailed their trophy property. Over the past year conglomerate Fosun International (656:HK) paid $725 million for a downtown Manhattan office tower , and Shanghai-based Greenland Hong Kong Holdings (337:HK)bought control of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn (albeit without the Barclays Center). Now a China-based company has sealed the type of Japanese-buying-Rockefeller-Center deal that signals the country’s arrival.
An insurance company from China is going to be the new owner of the Waldorf Astoria. Anbang Insurance has agreed to pay Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT)$1.95 billion for the landmark hotel on Park Avenue. As Bloomberg News reported, that would be the highest price paid for a single existing hotel in the U.S. and would take to $2.7 billion the amount that Chinese buyers have put into New York real estate this year.
The deal is particularly surprising because Anbang isn’t even a leader among Chinese insurance companies. Founded in 2004, the company sold auto policies and other types of property and casualty insurance but didn’t start selling life insurance until 2010. In a market dominated by big, state-owned insurers, Anbang until recently was an extremely minor player. At the end of 2013, its share of life-insurance premiums was 0.1 percent.
Anbang has since come on strong, rising over the past year to No. 8 among domestic insurers. Its market share has reached 3.6 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The impressive growth has, in part, been driven by policies offering 5 percent annually, compared to Ping An’s (2318:HK) 4 percent. Anbang has successfully teamed up with banks to offer life insurance policies to those looking for better returns in China, says Hong Kong-based Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Lam. The insurer collected 3.4 billion yuan in property and casualty premiums through August, and the life business in the same eight months collected 33.2 billion yuan.
That leaves Anbang well behind market leaders China Life (601628:CH), which has a quarter of the market, and Ping An, which has a 14 percent share—one reason the Waldorf deal is so surprising. “It’s really a left-field thing for the whole industry,” says Lam.
Given the growth of the Chinese industry, insurers such as Anbang are likely to have even more money to spend on high-profile properties in the U.S. Last year, Chinese insurance companies had assets worth nearly 7.7 trillion yuan ($1.25 trillion), but the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said last month that the assets may top 20 trillion yuan by the end of the decade. That would be equal to 35 percent of China’s gross domestic product last year—and 20 percent more than the economy of France.
Investing in U.S. property makes sense for Chinese insurance companies expecting that kind of growth and looking for long-term assets to match their long-term liabilities. China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, said in March that within the next two years China would probably ease restrictions on the interest rates banks can offer on deposits. Liberalization would spur more competition for insurers; as the cost of funding goes up, the insurance companies will need to increase their investment returns. With China’s equities and property markets in the doldrums, the U.S. is becoming even more attractive, says Lam. “The Chinese insurance companies are still in the beginning of the game of going overseas and mopping up these overseas assets,” he says. “We should be seeing more of this.”
Still, Lam is puzzled by Anbang’s giant deal. “If they dropped half a billion dollars [on an investment], that’s already a good start,” he says. “But two billion? That’s a lot, compared to their size.”
The Chinese insurer snapped up the iconic luxury hotel in the largest-ever U.S. real estate purchase by a Chinese buyer.
Hilton’s announcement on Monday that it’s selling the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York to a Chinese buyer may not have elicited a great deal of surprise, given the growing trend of Chinese investors snapping up U.S. real estate. But news that the luxury hotel’s new owner will be Anbang Insurance Group likely raised a few eyebrows.
The Beijing-based insurer has only been around for about a decade, it also has 30,000 employees and more than $114 billion in assets, according to the company’s website. Still, as Bloomberg points out, Anbang isn’t a heavyweight in the Chinese insurance market. It only has a fairly small 3.6% market share among domestic insurers in China, although the company has improved its position in the past year by offering customers policies with better returns than its competitors. Anbang sits far behind market leaders Ping An, which has 14% of the market, and the state-owned China Life, which controls about a quarter of the market, Bloomberg says.
Anbang’s position among Chinese insurers makes it a somewhat surprising suitor to have snapped up the Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion in what is the largest-ever sale of a U.S. hotel and the largest U.S. real estate purchase by a Chinese buyer. Chinese investors have certainly been active on the real estate market in recent years, especially in New York, where a group that included Soho China co-founder Zhang Xin paid $1.4 billion last year for a 40% stake in another Midtown Manhattan landmark, the General Motors Building. Other recent high-profile property investments include two more from last year: JPMorgan Chase’s $725 million sale of 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza to Fosun International, and Shanghai-based Greenland Group’s deal to take a 70% stake in the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, Anbang seems to be the first of China’s insurance companies to make a major property purchase in the U.S., and it comes two years after the country’s regulators removed some of the obstacles to overseas investments for insurers. In London, Anbang’s competitors have led the real estate charge in the past year, with Ping An paying $388 million for the Lloyd’s of London headquarters last summer, while China Life led a group that shelled out $1.4 billion for a skyscraper in London’s Canary Wharf district.
As for Anbang, the company had kept a moderately low profile on the acquisition front before this week. Last year, the company was rumored to be a leading candidate to buy family-run Hong Kong lender Wing Hang Bank, but Anbang eventually balked at the potential asking price and Wing Hang eventually sold to Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation for $5 billion earlier this year. Anbang had previously paid about $2.2 billion to increase the size of its stake in China Merchants Bank to 5%.
Central Broadcasting Network Beijing October 15 , according to Voice of China ” CNR News ” reported that Wanda Group invested Liga club Atletico Madrid thing, there has been new progress , the Spanish media reported that the negotiations have been completed, and exposure some details of the transaction .
Early October , when there is international media disclosed the stake will be acquired Wang Jianlin Atletico Club , Spanish media reports said yesterday, Wang Jianlin have to buy 20% of the shares acquired will be put in 5000 ten million euros , in addition to the acquisition of after that, Wang Jianlin, the team’s management will intervene in order to consolidate the status of this European club . Atletico Madrid football team in Europe today as the Yankees last season, won the La Liga champions and Champions League runners-up , the team has the strength to compete in the league in which Real Madrid and Barcelona , and in the European arena has also been a a very distinguished reputation . But now the history of this club because of factors still need to inject capital , the team still has up to 200 million euros in debt , so they need new investors join. Although the team is now spending a year players wages far Barcelona and Real Madrid , but also a 105 million euros as much , so the team needs a new partnership chairman .
Atletico Madrid club and Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin stake in the club on the issue has already been discussed for some time , the current negotiations have been reached in the implementation of a series of processes related to the final signature and other formalities , maybe later this month or in early next month to officially announce , while other media reports this matter , they also introduced the Wang Jianlin , when he was introduced when it comes to China ‘s billionaire owner Wanda Group , a company specialized investment to build luxury hotels, shopping malls and entertainment venues , in addition to Wang Jianlin also has acquired in Madrid , Spain landmark building , the future will bring this building converted into a luxury hotel, so Atletico Madrid also Jianlin shares in the real estate business in Spain will have some help.
Wang Jianli, Chinese billionaire 'record' by Atletico Madrid
The Chinese tycoon Wang Jianli, Dalian Wanda Group owner, will invest a significant amount of money at Atletico Madrid. Asian billionaire is in love with Spain and wants to leave his wealth in the Community of Madrid.
According to Marca in its print edition, the richest man in China want to make several projects in Madrid and many of them focus on the world of sports, since the employer is a big fan.
Wang Jianli has specialized in luxury hotels and shopping malls real estate empire. The first investment made in Spain has been the purchase of the building at Banco Santander Spain, this is worth around 300 million euros.
The Dalian Wanda Group will make a significant investment to build a mega resort which would have homes, hotels, shopping centers and even a gaming center, depending advances the digital newspaper "Confidential." Chinese billionaire does not want to put so many obstacles to the project as happened to the "Eurovegas" project that ultimately fell through.
The president of the Community of Madrid, Ignacio Gonzalez, has confirmed that negotiations are underway with the right foot and he is in contact with Chinese investors.
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