Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties won approval this week for a $5 billion initial public offering later this month, and the Hong Kong listing of the Chinese real estate firm could reshuffle the ranks of China’s mega-rich.
The listing of Wanda’s mainland real estate portfolio was approved just days after Wang won approval for the IPO of his theatre assets in China, Wanda Cinema Line, on the Shenzhen exchange. The movie theatre offering is expected to bring in as much as RMB 2 billion ($326 million) when it lists sometime later this month.
Wang, who is estimated by Forbes to be China’s fourth-richest man with a net worth of $13.2 billion, could see his personal net worth skyrocket as his group prepares to launch the two new share listings during December.
Property IPO Could be Hong Kong’s Biggest in 2014
Wanda Commercial Properties, which last month opened its 100th shopping mall in China, received approval for its listing from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday. In all, the real estate development branch of Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group has launched 178 real estate projects in 112 Chinese cities, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
With the offering expected by many analysts to bring in $5 billion, Wanda would become the most valuable Chinese real estate company listed on Hong Kong’s exchange, and the largest IPO since 2011.
In what could be a sign of how closely the Hong Kong bourse is related to mainland approval processes, the closely-held company received the go-ahead from the China Securities Regulatory Commission for listing its Wanda Cinema Line on Friday, just one day before the company’s property wing won approal in Hong Kong.
Wanda Cinema Line operates 142 multi-plex theatres across 73 cities in China, according to the exchange filing.
Will Wang Regain Crown of China’s Richest Man?
The two stock listings provide an opportunity for Wang to regain the title of “China’s Richest Man” which he lost to Alibaba’s Jack Ma after the Internet entrepreneur’s online empire listed on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year.
In 2013, Wang had been recognised as China’s richest man by both Forbes and by rival rich person record keeper Hurun Report. This year Wang was pushed down to fourth on the list after Alibaba’s Ma, Baidu’s Robin Li and Tencent founder Pony Ma.
Wanda Could Use New Capital for More Foreign Investments
The expected jolt of capital could provide new ammunition for Dalian Wanda Group to continue its string of overseas acquisitions.
Already Wanda is said to be in talks to acquire a stake in Lion’s Gate Entertainment, which produces the popular Hunger Games series.
In 2012 Wanda grabbed headlines by acquiring US theatre chain AMC for more than $800 million, and since then the company has pursued a strategy of rapid overseas expansion.
In the real estate world alone, during 2013 and 2014 Wanda has acquired development projects in London, New York, Chicago and other global centres estimated at more than $5 billion in value. Wang has also splashed out more than $500 million to acquire UK yacht-maker Sunseeker and even picked up a Picasso for $28.2 million.