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Thu 15 Nov 2018 09:50 AM

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Saudi Arabia's PIF eyes $700m stake in US movie studio Legendary

Hollywood studio could resist the deal, though sources say Chinese majority owner is likely to accept the purchase

Saudi Arabia's PIF eyes $700m stake in US movie studio Legendary
Legendary Entertainment is behind films like “Jurassic World” and “Interstellar”.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF is considering a $700 million stake in US movie studio Legendary Entertainment, the force behind films including “Jurassic World” and “Interstellar”, according to media reports.

While the Hollywood studio could resist the deal over reputational concerns related to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, the studio is likely to agree as its majority owner Chinese Dalian Wanda Group is pressured by Beijing to acquire assets overseas and reduce its debt.

Reuters reported that while the PIF has not had formal discussions with Legendary over the acquisition, it is reportedly in talks to hire a financial adviser to help with its bid.

PIF has also signed deals with cinema operators such as AMC Entertainment Holdings, in which Wanda is also an investor, and is expected to welcome around 350 movie theatres with over 2,500 screens expected to be built by 2030.

Its reported bid comes as Saudi’s Crown Prince has been seeking to open the kingdom to foreign films as part of economic and social reforms, including the lifting of a ban on cinema last year.