TheGrill 2016: Michael Lynton Says Sony Will Not Be Sold to China’s Wanda — Or Anyone Else

Studio exec also raises questions about Chinese conglomerate’s aggressive strategy

Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said that his company is not for sale.

Especially not to the conglomerate that seems to be buying half of Hollywood, China’s Dalian Wanda Group.

In a keynote talk with TheWrap CEO Sharon Waxman at the 2016 edition of TheGrill, TheWrap’s annual entertainment and media conference at the Montage Beverly Hills, Lynton said that he does not see Sony as an acquisition target.

“No, I don’t think so,” Lynton said. “I don’t think my parent company has any interest at all in selling the company.”

He defended that stance by pointing out that Sony’s core business is “more about content and the delivery of content.”

“Look at the balance of the profits and revenues,” Lynton said. “Sony has said, Kaz [Hirai, the CEO of Sony Corp.] said, it’s integral to the company and they have no intention to sell.”

Lynton also spent some time during the morning keynote questioning Wanda’s approach to ownership in Hollywood, which has seen the company spend billions of dollars scooping up assets including Legendary Entertainment and, most recently, Dick Clark Productions.

“I don’t, right now, understand what the strategy behind that is,” Lynton said. “I understood when Sony and [others] first came in and bought American studios, there was a strategy, and now the strategy has changed.”

“I don’t really understand what the Chinese or Wanda’s strategy is in coming and purchasing a studio, or Legendary for that matter,” he continued. “China is probably the only country in the world that can have an industrial movie business the way the United States does — because there’s a big domestic market.”

Lynton said China could produce movies on an “industrial basis” that feed its large domestic market and export films made directly in China without having to go through the complications of making movies in the United States.

“Why buying Sony or Paramount or Warner or anybody else helps that effort, I don’t really understand,” he said. “You want to make [the movies] in China. I would argue … why not grow that out of China? You’re using a lot of other stuff made in China right now, I dare say.”