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Tencent invests in 'Mission: Impossible' studio

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Beijing (AFP)

Chinese internet giant Tencent said on Friday it will take a stake in the US production company behind the "Mission: Impossible" and "Terminator" series, marking China's latest incursion into Hollywood.

The deal will give Tencent the opportunity to co-finance Skydance Media films, which will benefit from the Chinese firm's distribution and marketing in the world's second-largest movie market, firms said in a statement.

It did not provide financial details but the Los Angeles Times cited an unidentified source familiar with the deal as saying Tencent had paid more than $100 million for a stake of five to 10 percent.

Founded in 2010, Skydance has produced 15 films, most in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, including the "Star Trek" franchise.

It is preparing to release sequels to the "Mission: Impossible", "Terminator", and "Top Gun" sagas in the next two years.

Tencent has become one of the world's most valuable companies, raking in profits from its addictive mobile game "Honour of Kings" and WeChat, China's most popular all-purpose social media app that has nearly a billion users.

Last year it joined the exclusive club of companies with a market capitalisation of more than $500 billion.

It has already made inroads into the movie business, investing in last year's Hollywood blockbuster "Kong: Skull Island" while it also has control of one of China's major movie ticketing services.

Its partnership with Skydance "also supports collaboration on other media initiatives, including television, interactive and virtual reality", the statement said.

The move comes after major conglomerate Dalian Wanda, whose interests range from real estate to entertainment, snatched up Legendary Entertainment -- maker of "Jurassic World" and Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy -- for $3.5 billion, as well as US-based cinema chain AMC Theatres.

But it also follows warnings from Beijing against the "irrational investments" overseas by Chinese companies, particularly in the cinema industry.

A financing deal between Huahua Media and Paramount Hollywood studios valued at $1 billion fell through in November as a result of the regulatory tightening.

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