Wanda purchases Infront for 1 billion Euros officially on Feb 10th.Everyone is expecting the change that would be brought by the deal.Now we would try to look ahead that what would Wanda accomplish after the purchasing.
For buying Infront,Wanda expects a upgrade in itself.Wang set a brand new majestic goal for Wanda’s revenue:40 billion in 2016,80 billion in 2018,100 billion in 2020.It seems not a long pass after purchasing Infront any longer.
Wang Jianlin,who is the second richest people in China,has the chance to back to the throne.
China comes closer to World Cup and 2022 Winter Olympic Games
Hosting soccer's World Cup on home soil has long been a dream not only for Chinese fans, but also top leaders.
Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group's latest acquisition of Infront Sports & Media, an international sports marketer and soccer promoter, has taken a major step toward realizing this.
The acquisition has also cemented the company's status as a competent player in the global sports market.
On Tuesday, Dalian Wanda, a conglomerate operating in the property and entertainment sectors, said it had acquired Swiss-based sports marketing giant Infront from European private equity company Bridgepoint for about $1.2 billion.
The acquisition sees Wanda take a 68.2 percent stake in Infront, which focuses on distributing media rights for broadcasting sporting events including the FIFA World Cup and several Winter Olympic sports.
Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin said that by using expertise from Infront, Wanda expects to better support the development of soccer in China and to tap into the lucrative sports industry.
China is far from being qualified to host the World Cup due to the level of soccer development in the country, Wang said at the signing ceremony for the deal onTuesday.
"But Infront has strength in soccer promotional expertise and resources. I believe we can accelerate our progress to realizing the dream of hosting the World Cup, as our top leader expects, through the new partnership."
In 2011, then vice president Xi Jinping said his three wishes for Chinese soccer were qualifying for the World Cup, hosting the tournament and ultimately winning it.
Wanda's acquisition of Infront comes after it announced a 45million euro ($52 million) investment in Spanish soccer champions Atletico Madrid last month, its first overseas sports deal.
Wang said, "The growing sports market in China was the main motive for us to purchase Infront and to shift our focus fromthe traditional property business to the sports and culture industry."
Philippe Blatter, Infront's president and CEO and the nephew of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, also has high expectations for the potential of China's sports industry.
"With Wanda, we are committed to tackling a variety of major expansions worldwide with the aim of strengthening our position in the global sports market," said Blatter, who will continue to operate the agency with his management teamuntil 2020.
Zhang Qing, founder of sports marketing agency KeySports, said that by acquiring Infront, Wanda will be best positioned to support China in its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics by using Infront's connections to all seven Olympic winter sports federations and various rights holders.
"Infront's know-how and resources in promoting and broadcasting Winter Olympics events will help to improve mass participation and commercial marketing of winter sports in China," Zhang said.
Broadcasting rights to be redistributed
Wanda's chairman, Wang Jianlin, is known to be a die-hard football fan. And this looks to be kicking off more sports and entertainment deals for the company. Its move to branch away from the property business and diversify its holdings also comes as the Chinese economy begins to slow, and real estate prices slump in many cities across the country. In addition to this 1.2 billion US dollar deal for Infront Sports, just last month, Dalian Wanda also announced a 51 million US dollar investment in Spanish soccer champions Atletico Madrid.
Even for a man who has an estimated worth of around 21.4 billion US dollars like Wang, these two deals are a significant investment into the sports industry.
On the entertainment front, Wanda purchased AMC Entertainment, the owner of a large chain of US movie theaters, for 2.6 billion dollars in 2012. Its domestic market expanded at an astonishing speed too.With 182 cinemas opened across China by the end of last year, Wanda Cinema Line topped the country's box office in 2014 with 3.1 billion yuan, or over 500 million US dollars, in revenue.
Infront’s width and depth in soccer is incomparable.The professional company owned by Infront,HBS is well-recognized by the experts for their high quality broadcast work during the FIFA World Cup.The exclusive saling broadcasting rights for 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup in 26 Asian countries are owned by Infront.
After the mergering,Wanda will inherit the saling rights,what would happen for Chinese fans?
Chinese fans watch World Cup on TV for free all the time.CCTV got the exclusive broadcasting right on 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup,others are not allowed to.Wanda negotiated with SARFT(State Administration of Radio Film and Television of China) about showing the World Cup in Wanda Cinema Line.By purchasing Infront,Wanda could achieve that in 2018.
Not only the Cinema World Cup sounds fantastic,but also Wanda probably would sell the broadcasting rights to other media.The local sports channel and digital media are able to share World Cup.Watchers will have access to watch World Cup online with cellphone.
Original title by China Daily:Wanda's sports purchase boosts China's World Cup ambitions
Original title by CCTV:Wanda digs deeper into sports & entertainment