China’s Second-Richest Man Says the Government Scuttled His Deal for Dick Clark Productions

April 19, 2017, 7:11 AM UTC

Dalian Wanda founder Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men, said that the country’s recent capital controls prevented his company from acquiring Hollywood’s Dick Clark Productions in what was expected to be a $1 billion deal.

His admission came in an interview published Wednesday with the Financial Times in Beijing.

Wang laid blame on China’s policies enacted last year to slow the torrent of money heading overseas that weighed on the value of the currency, the yuan.

So far this year, China’s announced outbound M&A deals fell 75% in the first quarter to $25.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters—no doubt the result of government restrictions like the kind that Wanda has faced.

China’s capital controls appear to be working if they are stymieing even politically connected investors like Wang.

Wang also said pressure from certain players in the U.S. hampered the deal, though he did not identify who.

“Policies have changed on both sides, so we gave up the acquisition,” he told the paper. “Both countries have changed their policy. Some people in the United States did not agree with our acquisitions, and some of the policies in China are changing.”

A group of Congressmen last year raised concerns about Hollywood falling into the hands of Chinese investors like Wang, who has openly discussed his desire to spread the soft power and cultural influence of China.

Last January, Wanda spent $3.5 billion to acquire movie studio Legendary Entertainment, the production house behind hits like Jurassic World and The Hangover trilogy, and it was in the running for a stake in Paramount Pictures before signing to co-finance films with Sony Pictures.

Wanda’s $8 billion production studio in Qingdao, which Wang has called “Hollywood of the East,” is expected to open this summer.