Paramount China Partner Huahua Insists $1 Billion Slate Deal Is ‘Progressing as Planned’

Company’s CEO says film financing agreement still on despite delayed acquisition

After a planned acquisition by Oriental Times Media was held up by regulatory issues, China’s Huahua Media said Monday that the $1 billion deal with Shanghai Film Group to finance Paramount Pictures movie slate is “progressing as planned.”

Last week, TheWrap exclusively reported that Oriental Times’ plan to acquire Huahua for about $158 million was delayed after the China Securities Regulatory Commission decided not to give the deal its blessing.

An individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap its postponement or failure could threaten the Paramount slate financing arrangement, announced in February, which would have the two Chinese companies fund 25 percent or more of the studio’s entire slate.

In a statement provided to TheWrap, China’s Oriental Times Media Corporation said it has agreed to a multi-channeled joint venture with state-owned China Huarong Asset Management Company, which specialized in distressed debt, to invest in TV programs, cultural tourism and other entertainment areas. The statement also said that OTMC Chairman Peng Peng and Huahua CEO Wang Kefei recently met at Huahua’s headquarters, where the two discussed the “great faith in their long-term relationship.” Both executives reiterated enhanced plans to work together, but as distinct companies.

“OTMC and Huahua Media are heading towards the same goals, we will share the resources at hand with each other and maintain a close working relationship going forward,” Peng said in the statement. “Huahua‘s oversea resources and business development ability is widely recognized by our industry. We together will combine both companies strengths and stay as one to build a firm base for the future development.”

In the statement, Wang also insisted that the slate financing deal is still on despite the regulatory hiccup. China’s increasingly strict capital controls have tripped up other Hollywood deals, most notably Dalian Wanda’s failed purchase of Dick Clark Productions.

“In the past year, under the leadership of our chairman and founder Mr. Kenneth Huang, Huahua has achieved success with the great box office performance of ‘Star Trek Beyond,’ ‘Arrival,’ ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage,’ and has become the exclusive partner on ‘Transformers: The Last Knight,” Wang said in a statement.

“Additionally, the three-year slate deal with Paramount and other solid projects are progressing as planned. Huahua has an abundance of overseas film and TV resources with major studios, as well as independent production houses, from established IP’s to fresh original content. This is of the highest accordance with the strategic plan of OTMC, and from their series of business plans, we can see its strengths and positive market outlook. Huahua will give its full support to the strategy by OTMC.”

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