Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. widened its retreat from tourism and entertainment by handing over the management of 13 theme parks that it sold to Sunac China Holdings Ltd. last year.

On Monday, Sunac agreed to pay 6.28 billion yuan ($900 million) for several Wanda-affiliated companies to improve “management efficiency,” Sunac said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing.

Wanda is giving up the management rights after agreeing last year to sell a 91 percent stake in its cultural tourism projects across China to Sunac for 43.8 billion yuan, part of a sweeping asset disposal after the Beijing-based conglomerate fell under government scrutiny for a debt-fueled investment binge.

Wanda, along with other Chinese firms including HNA Group Co. and Anbang Insurance Co., started selling off assets amid government pressure to stem capital outflow and reduce debt. Since July last year, Wanda has offloaded more than $11 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg calculations. That includes the 13 theme parks that were part of Wang’s ambitious drive to unseat Walt Disney Co. as the world’s largest entertainment company.

Under the previous deal with Sunac, Wanda was to continue to operate the theme parks under a fee arrangement. The agreement brought “inconveniences” related to the inconsistency between management and ownership of the assets, Wanda said in a separate statement Monday. Wanda also said in the statement it would continue to invest in the culture and tourism industry.

Wanda has also sold its real estate projects in London and Australia, as well as minority stakes in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid. The Beijing-based conglomerate is exploring a minority stake sale in movie studio Legendary Entertainment and a sale of sports-related assets, Reuters reported Oct. 26. Wanda denied that report. The company is also said to be selling two U.S. real estate projects, CoStar News reported last month.

 

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Photo Credit: Hefei Wanda Culture Tourism City in Anhui province is one of several theme park destinations owned by Wanda. Sunac has agreed to buy management rights for 13 of Wanda's theme parks. AFP / Bloomberg