July 3, 2018 / 6:14 AM / 4 months ago

Alibaba, Tencent lead $1.5 billion investment in China media group CMC

FILE PHOTO - Li Ruigang, Founding Chairman, China Media Capital (CMC), People's Republic of China, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese state-backed media group CMC Inc said on Tuesday it raised around 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion) in a fundraising round from investors including tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK).

CMC Inc, one half of the CMC media empire that spans from sports to amusement parks, said the A-round fundraising was led by the two Chinese tech firms along with new investors such as property developer China Vanke Co Ltd 000002.SZ.

It added the firm was valued at around 400 billion yuan after the round.

CMC Capital Partners is the other half of the larger CMC group, founded by media magnate Li Ruigang. Li is often portrayed as China’s version of Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp (NWSA.O).

Alibaba and Tencent declined to comment.

CMC group is a major force in China’s entertainment and media sectors and has big global ambitions. It has a stake in the owner of English Premier League team Manchester City and a joint venture with Hollywood studio Warner Brothers Entertainment.

The fundraising comes as China’s leaders look to bolster their control over media and cultural industries, where the country’s tech and internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent play an outsized role.

“With the tech revolution driving ongoing change in how people consume content, the global media and entertainment industries are going through a new round of adjustment and change,” CMC’s Li said in a statement.

The investment also came as more tech companies are seeking tie-ups with state-backed firms under Beijing’s mixed-ownership reforms. Telecoms group China Unicom (0762.HK) raised $11.7 billion from a dozen investors including Alibaba and Tencent last year.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI and Pei Li in BEIJING; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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