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China’s Wanda dumps AMC shares, departs company’s board

China’s Dalian Wanda Group announced on Sunday (May 23) that following a massive selloff of shares, it would completely withdraw from the board of directors of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the largest movie theater chain in the world.

As of now, Wanda has sold US$1.5 billion worth of its shares in AMC, leaving its stake in the latter at 0.002 percent, according to CNA. The company began its selloffs in the first of a series of rounds on May 13, causing the stock price of AMC to slide.

The theater chain’s stock had risen by 160 percent in the past 12 months, largely due to the Reddit-based stock trading group WallStreetBets and its impact on the market earlier this year, per The Wall Street Journal.

AMC issued a statement on Wanda’s withdrawal from its board, thanking Wanda for its help over the last decade and writing that the company has always been “AMC’s best shareholder.”

In 2012, Wanda founder Wang Jianlin (王健林) acquired 100 percent of AMC’s equity for US$2.6 billion. Under Wanda’s stewardship, AMC became the world’s largest movie theater chain, with US$500 million of investment made in equipment upgrades, per CNA.

The AMC acquisition represented the first purchase in an overseas buying spree that saw Wanda purchase other Hollywood touchstones, such as the production company Legendary Entertainment.

At his high-water mark, Wang was one of the 10 richest people in China, though the mogul fell afoul of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after stating that as long as Wanda enters an industry, “state-owned enterprises do not have the opportunity to be the boss.”

Wanda was at one point warned by the CCP to reduce its overseas holdings, and it has in recent years sold off at least US$3.3 billion in foreign properties, according to statistics cited by CNA. The company is also currently experiencing a debt crisis, as its once-booming business has slowed.