Shanghai Film Group takes over Warner cinemas

MUMBAI: Leading Chinese player Shanghai Film Group will take over two cinema theatres in China, owned by Warner Bros International Cinemas (WBIC), the international cinema division of Warner Bros.

Located in Shanghai and Nanjing, the two cinemas are joint projects of WBIC and SFG, says a release. Prior to this deal, WBIC, along with partner SZITIC Commercial Property Co had sold three cinemas to the China Film Group.

In November 2006, WBIC had said it would stop its investments in cinemas due to a major regulatory change, although the company continues its other ventures in China, including local language film production, a home video joint venture, consumer products and studio stores.

The equity transfer agreement, signed by SFG and WBIC on 12 February 2007, envisages  SFG buying WB’s 49 per cent interest in Shanghai Paradise-Warner Cinema City and 51 per cent in Nanjing SFG-Warner Cinema City. SFG originally held 51 per cent share in the Shanghai based cinema and 49 per cent share in the Nanjing based cinema. The agreement still needs the approval of the Chinese government, a process that could take up to 60 days.

After the hand-over, all Warner Bros logos and other intellectual property will be removed from the cinemas, which will also no longer carry the Warner Bros name, the release adds.

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