Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin's son settles with creditors

Mr Wang Sicong will compensate dozens of investors in his now bankrupt entertainment firm. PHOTO: WANG SICONG/INSTAGRAM

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Mr Wang Sicong, the only son of the founder and chairman of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co., reached an agreement with creditors after local courts declared him a debtor and placed curbs on his flamboyant lifestyle.

The 31-year-old will compensate dozens of investors in his now bankrupt entertainment firm and will shoulder a loss of almost 2 billion yuan (S$387 million), according to a statement on the website of his investment firm, Prometheus Capital. It didn't provide details.

Mr Wang has been battling the fallout of the collapse this year of Shanghai Panda Entertainment Culture Co., which he founded in 2015 as a streaming platform and later diversified into event planning and animation.

The failure prompted a court in Beijing in November to list the tycoon as a debtor, while Wanda Group - run by his father and billionaire Wang Jianlin - distanced itself from the scion's woes.

"The single failure of starting up Panda Entertainment cannot be taken as the failure of Prometheus Capital and its owner," the investment firm said in the statement Thursday (Dec 26).

As of Friday, Mr Wang was no longer listed as a debtor on an official website run by China's top court.

The junior Wang has dabbled in businesses, including investments in eSports and internet startups, and ran Prometheus Capital, founded in 2012 as a family fund of the two Wangs.

He shot to fame in 2015 for splurging on two gold Apple Watches - retailing for as much as US$17,000 (S$23,000) each at the time - for his dog.

Following his debtor status, a court this year barred him from making unnecessary purchases such as property and traveling first class.

Mr Wang Jianlin, whose net worth is about US$17 billion as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, said in a speech in 2016 that his son didn't seem interested in succeeding him at the helm of his empire.

He said he thought it was better to hand Wanda over to professional managers with guidance from the board.

Following an acquisition spree earlier this decade, Wanda has offloaded assets including European soccer clubs and a property in Beverly Hills to focus on building leisure and commercial facilities in its home country.

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