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Legendary Pictures Sells $45 Million Stake to H.K. Developer

Legendary Pictures, co-financier of Warner Bros. movies including “The Dark Knight,” received a $45 million investment from Hong Kong-based property developer New World Development Co.

New World Strategic Investment Ltd., the group’s private equity unit, acquired the minority stake, Adrian Cheng, an executive director, said in an interview. Melissa Zukerman, an outside spokeswoman for Burbank, California-based Legendary, confirmed New World’s involvement, without elaborating.

The investment is the second Legendary has received from a Chinese company. In September, Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment Ltd., also based in Hong Kong, paid $25 million for a 3.3 percent interest in Legendary. Other films the company has co-financed and co-produced with Warner include include “Inception,” “300” and “The Hangover.”

“A film company’s connection with celebrities is something we can use to help our retail operations, especially when it comes to brand promotion,” said Cheng, 31, who declined to give the size of the stake. “Of course, the deal needs to make financial sense in the first place.”

Legendary is also seeking a $200 million term loan through JP Morgan Chase & Co. to refinance debt and a $500 million line of credit, said people with knowledge of the situation who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

New World’s private equity arm, which Cheng started in 2007, has invested about HK$3 billion ($3 billion) in industries ranging from property to retail to clean energy. The unit, wholly backed by New World with no outside investors, aims to invest up to HK$3 billion annually, partly in businesses “that can help New World expand its retail operations in mainland China and Hong Kong,” said Cheng.

Cheng is a grandson of New World founder Cheng Yu-tung. The elder Cheng 85, was ranked by Forbes Magazine as Hong Kong’s fourth-richest person.

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