Investors Flee From Billionaire Wang's Wanda Shares, Bonds

Updated on
  • Theater operator unit sinks most in 17 months in Shenzhen
  • Wanda says speculation about banks selling bonds is false

Wang Jianlin.

Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. was in focus on Thursday as the shares and bonds of its units plunged.

Wanda Film Holding Co. tumbled as much as 10 percent in Shenzhen, its biggest loss since January 2016, before its shares were suspended from trading. Wanda Properties International Co.’s 2024 notes plunged as much as 10.7 cents on the dollar to 101 cents in morning trading in Hong Kong, the biggest drop on record, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

The group said in a statement that the rout may have been caused by speculation that banks were issuing notices that they will sell Wanda bonds. The rumor is false, Wanda said.

Both companies are units of Wanda Group, the property-to-entertainment conglomerate that stood out in recent years for making acquisitions in Hollywood such as the purchase of Legendary Entertainment. Wang is China’s second-richest man with a fortune of $31.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

There is speculation about political risks surrounding the Wanda Group, said Castor Pang, head of research at Core-Pacific Yamaichi HK. “The most important factor of doing business in China is the company’s political stance. It is important for the company to ‘stand at the right side.’ Political risks are the factor that is most difficult to evaluate in China. Even it is just a rumor, investors will choose to sell off first.”

Wanda became the first Chinese firm to own a major Hollywood film production company with the $3.5 billion purchase of "Godzilla"-maker Legendary Entertainment last year. Wanda is also the world’s biggest operator of movie theaters.

— With assistance by Richard Frost, Jeanny Yu, Lianting Tu, Jing Yang De Morel, Prudence Ho, and Helen Sun

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