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Jeff Robinov in Talks with Chinese Conglom Fosun For Production Funding

MoviesFinanceChinaBusinessSony Pictures Entertainment Inc.Warner Bros.

Former Warner Bros. film topper Jeff Robinov, whose expected financing with anchor investor Huayi Brothers Media Corp. failed to materialize, is in talks with Chinese conglomerate Fosun International and other foreign parties to potentially help fund his nascent film production company Studio 8, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Fosun is based in Hong Kong, where it manages four types of businesses; insurance, direct investment, asset management and industrial operations with monies in steel, mining and pharmaceuticals. Fosun was launched in 1992 by Guo Guangchang, the company's now-chairman, and three other graduates of Fudan University, a well-known college. The company is listed on Hong Kong's stock exchange. In April, Fosun International launched a venture capital branch in Silicon Valley, earmarking $100 million to invest in technologically-driven startups.

Through a spokesman, Robinov declined to confirm that negotiations were underway with Fosun and would not comment on why the deal with Huayi Brothers went south after months of talks. In May, Huayi co-chief Wang Zhonglei reiterated plans to invest $120-$150 million in Robinov's venture. According to a source with knowledge of the deal, Huayi, which is based in Bejiing, had planned to invest $50 million in Studio 8 and syndicate the rest, but was unable to do so.

Robinov's intentions are still to raise at least $200 million to $300 million in equity and an equal amount in debt, say people close to the matter. Sony Pictures is still in the mix to provide Robinov a studio home and to invest $50 million in his new venture when and if he can line up a new majority investor and they can agree on terms.

The Huayi Brothers exit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Related storiesChina's Huayi Opens International Chapter, Confirms Studio 8 Investment PlansTop Hollywood Players Attempt Executive ReinventionChina's Huayi to Inject $120 Million Into Robinov's Studio 8 2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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