HONG KONG — News Corp.’s stake in Chinese production and distribution firm Bona Film Group is to be transferred to the new 21st Century Fox company. The move follows the splitting of News Corp.’s holding into two independent businesses.
The announcement goes some way towards allaying notions that the Chinese investment may be a victim of the announced divorce between Rupert and Wendi Murdoch.
Wendi Murdoch is understood to have brought the deal to News Corp. and positioned it as both an opportunistic purchase – when Bona’s NASDAQ-listed shares had slumped significantly below their offer price – and as a strategic investment in the world’s fastest-growing major box office territory.
News Corp. bought its 19.9% stake directly from Bona’s founder Yu Dong in May 2012 and installed Jack Q. Gao as a main board member.
In a statement released to the stock market Gao described the stake as “an important financial and strategic asset through which we believe we can maximize the potential of the significant opportunity in the Chinese film market.”
Bona says the share transfer is actually beneficial. “As a dedicated media and entertainment company, I believe that the value of working with 21st Century Fox will be even greater than before and the cooperation between our companies can result in new levels of creative and financial success going forward. We are making progress on our first co-production, “Moscow Mission,” and are discussing several other potential projects that will effectively leverage our respective strengths,” said Yu in a statement.