China-Hollywood Venture Fizzles; Huayi Brothers Media’s Plan to Fund New Film Studio Hits the Pause Button

China-Hollywood Venture Fizzles

Huayi Brothers Media’s Plan to Fund New Film Studio Hits the Pause Button


June 19, 2014 3:56 p.m. ET

Huayi Brothers Media Corp.’s 300027.SZ +1.29% plan to fund a new Hollywood studio is on hold.

The Chinese entertainment conglomerate announced in March that it intended to invest between $120 million and $150 million in Studio 8, a new company run by former Warner Bros. film chief Jeff Robinov. But those negotiations have fallen apart, people close to the venture said Thursday.

Another knowledgeable person said the Chinese company remains in talks with Mr. Robinov and may still become an investor, though the planned amount and structure of the deal would likely change.

The reasons for the breakup weren’t immediately apparent. Mr. Robinov, who hasn’t publicly commented on his plans, is lining up new financing that he hopes will bring Studio 8 about $250 million in equity and another $250 million to $300 million of debt, one of the people added.

“There are ongoing discussions with multiple parties interested in making significant investments,” said a person close to Studio 8. Studio 8 is expected to finance and produce about five movies a year, at least some of which will be big-budget “event” pictures.

Huayi’s planned investment would have been the largest to date by a Chinese company in American film production. The Beijing-based movie and television company has been seeking a partner in Hollywood for several years.

In 2012, a planned deal between Huayi and Legendary Pictures LLC to produce movies in China also fell apart.

Mr. Robinov, who left Time Warner Inc. TWX +0.12% ‘s Warner Bros. last year after losing an internal competition to become its chief executive, is nearing a deal for his movies to be distributed by Sony Corp.’s 6758.TO +0.18% Sony Pictures Entertainment, said people familiar with the matter. Sony may also invest in some of Mr. Robinov’s productions.



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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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