China's Huayi to invest in Hollywood production firm

March 6 Thu Mar 6, 2014 9:51am EST

March 6 (Reuters) - Huayi Brothers Media Corp has become the latest Chinese company to seek a slice of the U.S. entertainment industry, announcing plans to buy a film-making business founded by a former head of Warner Brothers.

Huayi, which mainly produces and distributes movies, television programmes and music, signed a term sheet to invest $120-150 million in Studio 8, a firm set up by Warner Brothers ex-president Jeff Robinov.

"After becoming Studio 8's shareholder, the company will be in charge of the issuing and distribution of films produced by Studio 8 in the Greater China region," Huayi Brothers said in a filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday.

Some approvals were needed before the official signing of the agreement, the Beijing-based company said. The announcement came after China's markets closed.

Huayi Brothers, whose 2013 net profit more than doubled to 666.6 million yuan ($108.78 million), produced several Chinese blockbuster films including "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons", and "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon".

Its latest plan underscores the ambition of Chinese firms to break into the lucrative U.S. entertainment industry.

In May 2012, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group acquired AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion including debt, making it the biggest theatre operator in the United States.

Shares in Huayi Brothers will resume trading on Friday after being suspended in afternoon trading on Thursday. They closed up 4.4 percent at 26.09 yuan before the trading halt.

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