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Wanda plans ‘substantial’ deals as property sales slump

Wanda plans ‘substantial’ deals as property sales slump

BEIJING: Dalian Wanda Group Co, the property-to-entertainment conglomerate headed by Asia’s richest man, is planning five “substantial” acquisitions this year as the company braces for a drop in sales.

Wanda, led by billionaire Wang Jianlin, is aiming to complete three overseas purchases and two domestic ones, excluding cinema chains, it said in an e-mail on Monday.

Separately, Wanda forecast that sales will fall 12 percent in 2016 as slumping revenue from its main real estate business overshadows gains from the burgeoning entertainment operations, the first time it is seeing a drop since at least 2009, when the firm started disclosing annual targets.

Wang is increasingly looking toward entertainment to account for a greater slice of his business empire as China’s slowing economy ripples through his other businesses. Last week, Wanda announced it will buy Legendary Entertainment, the United States-based producer of Godzilla, for $3.5 billion in cash, paving the way for Wang to become the first Chinese person to control a Hollywood film company.

In a November interview with Caixin, Wang said that his firm is diversifying as it is “risky” to rely solely on property investments, adding that it is a sector where long-term and stable capital flows cannot be maintained.