Dalian Wanda deal: Why is China's 'Disney rival' being sold?

Dalian Wanda Group, headed by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, says it has reached a landmark deal to sell its theme parks business to Sunac China for $9.3 billion.

Primarily a real estate company, Wanda also took aim at the tourism industry by pledging to unseat Disney as a top brand.

Sunac China is a major residential developer based in the northern city of Tianjin. Sunac's 15 acquisitions since the start of past year included a deal with technology company Legend Holdings Corp. that spanned 42 property projects across 16 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou, according to Bloomberg data.

"Through this asset transfer, Wanda Commercial's debt ratio will be greatly reduced, all the proceeds will be used to repay loans".

The transaction will allow Sunac and Wanda to "fully play" to their advantages, and both parties agree to cooperate in other areas such as in movies, according to the statement.

Three Chinese theme parks, meant to compete with USA giant Disney's ventures in the country, are being sold.

Shares in Wanda Hotel Development, the group's listed unit in Hong Kong, surged after the news and were trading 74 percent higher at HK$1.01 by early afternoon.

The sale also builds on Wang's push to shed real-estate assets to focus on collecting rent rather than developing properties.

Wanda announced this morning that it would sell 76 hotels and 91 per cent stakes in 13 tourism projects to Sunac. The group's holdings include upcoming London development One Nine Elms.

Wanda, a commercial property developer that has diversified into entertainment, theme parks, and sports - partly as a buffer against Chinese real-estate volatility - was at the forefront of the overseas push, spending billions on a range of USA entertainment properties and other investments. The tourism sites will retain Wanda's name. Developers spent a record 96.7 billion yuan in the second quarter on acquiring competitors or their assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.