Mainland China's Chengtian Entertainment Group has picked up a 55.9% majority stake in Hong Kong's Golden Harvest Group.
Beijing-based Chengtian previously secured its place as the largest single shareholder in the Hong Kong entertainment group last November. The latest series of deals took Chengtian's 19.7% stake in Golden Harvest to 55.9%.
Chengtian is one of the fastest growing entertainment conglomerates in China. Founded in 2004 by telecom entrepreneur Wu Kebo, it is currently involved in film and TV production and distribution, online music distribution, talent management, theater and entertainment marketing.
The deal is likely to give Chengtian productions access to Golden Harvest's pan-Asian exhibition and distribution network which is steadily expanding into mainland China from its current base in Shenzhen. The group is planning to open theaters this summer in Beijing and Wuxi.
Since 1970, Golden Harvest has financed and produced over 600 films, launching the international careers of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. The company has shifted its attention away from production to distribution and exhibition, operating 260 screens across Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.
Japanese entertainment major Avex Group Holdings acquired a 20% stake in Chengtian two years ago as part of its plans to create a wider production and distribution network across Asia.
In related news, another legendary Hong Kong entertainment empire, Shaw Brothers, is in negotiations to sell to mainland property company Country Garden for a reported $1.28b (HK$10b). Shaw's assets include a 26% share in Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, owner of the world's largest library of Cantonese-language content.
- Sen-lun Yu in Beijing contributed to this report.