【英语中国】中国富豪离奇海外并购的背后 China’s Deal Makers Pursue Added Value: Status

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2014-1-13 07:41

小艾摘要: Wei GuChinese tycoons' pursuit of high-profile overseas assets can seem random, with the latest—a recycling businessman's bid for the New York Times—perhaps the most puzzling.But consider them as qu ...
China's Deal Makers Pursue Added Value: Status
Wei Gu

Chinese tycoons' pursuit of high-profile overseas assets can seem random, with the latest—a recycling businessman's bid for the New York Times—perhaps the most puzzling.

But consider them as quests for prestige, power and political standing. Smart entrepreneurs are increasingly using overseas acquisitions as a tool to boost their status inside and outside China.

Yes, the main goals are still financial return, a safe place to put cash, and diversification. But well-done deals can also raise buyers' political standing, add to their credibility with lenders and suppliers, and increase their popularity among customers and even job applicants in China.

Unlike the bureaucrats who run state-owned companies, private-sector businessmen don't need to follow Beijing's agenda, such as buying natural resources to satisfy China's growing needs. But they can still serve China's development goals, and realize rewards for it.

'Chinese businessmen understand that if they help the government solve its problems, they get various support from the government in return,' said Oliver Rui, a finance professor at the China Europe International Business School and co-director of its Kaifeng Centre for Family Heritage. The main government support they want, he added, is financing.

Perhaps the best evidence of deals paying status dividends is the acquisition of U.S. movie-theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings by Dalian Wanda Group, controlled by Wang Jianlin. Besides netting Mr. Wang a large return after AMC's initial public offering, it dramatically raised the standing of China's film industry in Hollywood and helped Beijing in its effort to export Chinese culture to the West.

Beijing rewarded Mr. Wang, the country's richest man, with financial support; state banks including China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China provided funding for the AMC deal. Top officials attended the signing ceremony. And the success of this investment will likely help Wanda win approval for future acquisitions abroad, as well as access to credit at home.

Further benefits were apparent when Wanda Group last year opened Oriental Movie Metropolis in Qingdao, an $8 billion movie studio billed as the world's largest. Hollywood power brokers and movie stars, who in the past might well have ignored such a far-off event, flocked to the opening. Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones were among those walking the red carpet. Executives from studios such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Pictures showed up as well, while heads of top U.S. talent agencies promised to bring 30 global stars to Mr. Wang's new film festival every year.

While Hollywood money men know the potential of the Chinese film market, now the world's second-largest after the U.S., it wasn't lost on them that AMC also has 343 theaters and 4,950 screens in North America, predominantly in major metropolitan markets.

AMC's distribution power in the U.S. also helps Beijing's effort to export Chinese culture. The hit comedy 'Lost in Thailand' played in 30 AMC theaters in selected markets, and while it didn't draw big audiences, the airing of a Chinese movie in a Chinese-owned American theater was a point of pride for China.

Making a high-profile overseas deal boosts the standing of private Chinese companies in other ways, as well. China's college graduates traditionally see domestic private companies as less desirable employers than state-owned companies (which offer security) or multinationals (which offer international exposure). But private companies that have done deals report higher interest from job seekers. Fosun International, which controls or owns stakes in brands such as St. John, Folli Follie and Club Med, said it noticed a higher level of interest from university students after it bought the Chase Manhattan Tower in New York last year.

Chinese businessmen need to be careful, though. Recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao's offer to buy the New York Times was dead on arrival and came off looking like just a stunt to showcase his patriotism. The eccentric magnate, who has never been in the media business, said his goal was to improve the Western coverage of China, and that he is ready to make offers for more media companies.

Losing lots of money on a deal, either by overpaying or bad execution, would be embarrassing. Still, the payoff can be huge for smart Chinese entrepreneurs who pull off high-profile deals. Look for more of them to take the risk.

顾蔚

中国富人高调收购海外资产的举动可能看起来相当随意,最令人困惑的当属最近中国环保行业富豪陈光标表示想要把《纽约时报》收入囊中。在看似不合逻辑的行动背后,是中国企业家对声望、权力和政治地位的追求。

视频:中国大亨为何热衷海外并购?
中国大亨越来越多地通过海外并购来提升自己在国内外的声望。金融学教授、中欧国际商学院凯风家族传承研究中心联席主任芮萌接受《华尔街日报》顾蔚采访,分析了向高知名度的海外资产发起并购能让中国投资者获得些什么。精明的中国富豪越来越多地通过海外并购来提升自身在国内外的地位。主要目的仍然是获得金融回报、找到安全的资金存放地以及实现分散化投资。如果操作得当,这些交易可以提高他们在中国的地位,增强其在银行和供应商中的信誉,并使他们在中国的消费者、甚至求职者中更受欢迎。

与管理中国国有企业的官员不同,私营领域的商人无需按照政府要求购买自然资源,以满足国内不断增长的需求。这使得他们在收购媒体、矿业等敏感行业的资产时更加灵活。事实上私营企业的自主行动,更有可能帮助中国实现发展目标。

金融学教授、中欧凯风家族传承研究中心联席主任芮萌表示,中国商人知道,如果他们能够帮助政府解决问题,作为回报,政府将提供多方面的支持。他补充说,中国私营企业最需要政府提供发展需要的廉价资金。

中国富人通过投资美国电影院获得了让人意外的回报。王健林对AMC Entertainment Holdings的7亿美元初始投资升值了200%。王健林旗下的大连万达集团在青岛投资80亿美元建设了“东方影都影视产业园区”,该项目的启动仪式吸引了好莱坞和中国的诸多一线影星,如莱昂纳多•迪卡普里奥(Leonardo DiCaprio)、妮可•基德曼(Nicole Kidman)、凯瑟琳•泽塔-琼斯(Catherine Zeta-Jones),以及章子怡、李连杰和成龙。

Uncredited/Associated Press2013年9月,迪卡普里奥出席青岛东方影都影视产业园区的启动仪式。除了明星,美国大的电影制作公司,比如索尼影视娱乐和环球影业的高层也来了。美国经纪公司更是保证每年给王健林的新电影节提供30位电影明星或导演。好莱坞明白中国电影市场的潜力(目前是仅次于美国的全球第二大市场),但他们也没忘记AMC在美国的地位。该院线在北美地区拥有343家影院、4,950块放映屏幕,主要集中在大城市。

AMC在美国的发行能力也有助于中国的文化输出。近年来中国尝试了多种途径来向西方国家推广软实力,但除了在纽约时报广场播放广告外,并未取得明显进展。在被万达集团收购之后,AMC在某些市场放映了中国高票房电影《人再 途之泰 》。在上映的30多家影院中,这部电影并没有吸引大量观众,但在中国公司旗下的美国影院放映中国国产电影的做法,还是让一些中国人感到自豪的。

中国政府向收购AMC的交易提供了支持。当时中国新闻出版广电总局的高级官员参加了签字仪式。中国国家开发银行和中国进出口银行等国有银行为并购交易提供了融资。此次投资的商业和金融成就很可能使万达集团未来的海外并购交易更容易获批,也更容易获得国内的信贷支持。

高调收购海外资产的交易也通过其他途径提升了中国私营企业的地位。在大学毕业生看来,私营企业在中国往往被视为二等公民。优秀的毕业生大多青口国有企业的稳定工作,或是在具备国际化环境的跨国企业工作。但求职者对完成海外并购交易的私营企业的兴趣日渐浓厚。复星国际有限公司注意到,在公司去年收购了纽约的第一大通曼哈顿广场后,前来求职的大学生增加。复星国际持有或掌控美国女装St. John、希腊首饰Folli Follie和法国度假机构Club Med等品牌的股份。

Reuters陈光标但中国商人仍需保持谨慎。环保行业富豪陈光标收购《纽约时报》的提议看来这不过是他展示自己爱国精神的宣传噱头。这位特立独行的富豪从未涉足媒体业务,他宣称,希望通过收购来增加《纽约时报》对中国的正面报道。在收购《纽约时报》看来希望渺茫后,他又表示对其他美国媒体也有兴趣。

当然,企业家如果在交易中蒙受高额损失(由于收购价格过高或执行不善),也会弄巧成拙。但精明的中国企业家仍有可能从备受瞩目的海外并购中获得巨额回报,因此相信会有更多的企业家未来会冒险尝试。

(本文作者顾蔚是《华尔街日报》中国财富和奢侈品编辑,并负责该报中文网的原创内容。欢迎追踪她的中文网博客”高净值生活”,和每周五以中英文双语同步发表的专栏。评论请发送邮件至wei.gu@wsj.com,也可以在新浪微博上(顾蔚WeiGu)追踪她。)

(本文版权归道琼斯公司所有,未经许可不得翻译或转载。)

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