Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang buys undisclosed stake in Hollywood production company Imagine Entertainment

The purchase adds to the media mogul’s growing asset base in Hollywood film production

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 March, 2016, 8:43pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 March, 2016, 8:43pm

China’s media mogul Li Ruigang continues to extend his influence in Hollywood with the acquisition of an equity stake in the production company behind “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind,” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

Shanghai-based China Media Capital (CMC), which Li founded in 2009, said it has taken a stake in Imagine Entertainment, an American production firm led by director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer. CMC did not unveil the acquisition price, nor the size of its equity stake.

But the deal is seen as the latest move by CMC to invest in the US entertainment industry after its separate movie-making ventures with IMAX Corp and Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

CMC , China’s first media sector focused fund dedicated to media and entertainment investments both in China and internationally, also partnered with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc to make Kung Fu Panda 3.

“Through the investment in Imagine Entertainment, we will team up with the top production team in Hollywood to further enter into the heartland of the world’s movie and television industries,” Li, said in the statement announced yesterday.

Li, who was dubbed as China’s Rupert Murdoch for his media holdings, said the acquisition would enhance China’s influence in the world industry and promote Chinese culture to the rest of the world.

Imagine Entertainment , founded in 1986, has been honoured with more than 60 awards including 10 Academy Awards and 40 Emmy awards. Last month, investment bank Raine, which has in excess of US$2 billion in assets under management, also invested in Imagine Entertainment.

Imagine said it would further expand its creative footprint and seek to diversify its entertainment businesses.

Li set up CMC with backing from his then employer Shanghai Media Group, one of China’s most powerful state broadcasters, and China Development Bank.

Last year, a CMC led- consortium paid US$400 million (HK$3.1 billion ) for a 13 per cent stake in City Football Group.

CMC has stakes in Hong Kong broadcaster TVB and is also building a Legoland theme park in Shanghai.