China’s Dalian Wanda to buy Infront for €1bn

Kasmira Jefford
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Fifa’s Sepp Blatter
CHINESE property and leisure conglomerate Dalian Wanda has made a push into the sports and entertainment sectors after snapping up Swiss marketing firm Infront Sports & Media for €1.05bn (£780m).

Dalian Wanda, which is led by China’s wealthiest man Wang Jianlin, is one of the country’s largest property players with over 60 five star hotels and 98 mixed-used office, residential and leisure centres known as Wanda Plazas.

However, it has been aggressively expanding into other sectors and making further acquisitions overseas to move away from China’s cooling property market.

Wanda’s culture division, which includes China’s biggest cinema chain Wanda Cinema Line and AMC Theatres in the US, more than doubled revenues last year to 34bn renminbi (£3.58bn).

Its purchase of Infront from private equity group Bridgepoint will see Wanda take a 68.2 per cent stake in the company, which focuses on distributing media rights for broadcasting sports events including the football World Cup. Wanda did not name the other stakeholders.

Infront’s chief executive Philippe Blatter, the nephew of Fifa president Sepp Blatter, will remain in his role as will the rest of the management team, Wanda said.

The deal comes less than a month after Wanda bought a stake in Atletico de Madrid football club.

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