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Legendary Pictures signs strategic partnership with Hong Kong company

September 26, 2010 | 10:32 pm

Hong Kong movie company Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment has made a minority investment of $25 million in Legendary Pictures in a deal that will enable the Hollywood film financing and production company to move into the Chinese market.

Founded in 1970, Orange Sky has produced and financed more than 600 movies and operates 29 multiplexes with 229 screens in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

In a regulatory filing, the company said it made the strategic alliance with Legendary in order to explore possibilities for co-productions of local language films and developing video games.

Legendary said in a statement that the deal could enable the two firms to work together on television and online media as well and for it to consider new partnership opportunities in the fast-growing Chinese market.

This is the first such publicly disclosed strategic investment for Legendary, which is led by chairman Thomas Tull. In 2007, it raised $1 billion to co-finance and produce movies with Warner Bros. as part of a five-year deal. While many other private equity-backed film finance ventures have struggled or shut down in recent years, Legendary has fared well, with a string of hits including "300," "The Dark Knight," "The Hangover" and this summer's "Inception."

According to a regulatory filing, the investment gives Orange Sky the right to appoint one member to Legendary's board of directors.

The deal implies a valuation for Legendary's common stock of $825 million. A person familiar with Legendary's finances said the company has other stock and value considerations beyond its common stock that put its total value at more than $1 billion.

-- Ben Fritz