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The announcement, made at a press conference by both firms in Beijing, comes after a week of rumours about a possible deal.

Wanda is the world’s biggest movie theatre operator with a majority stake in the US chain AMC.

The rapidly growing group is led by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin.

Mr Wang has been looking to buy a Hollywood studio for several years and was reported to be in talks with DreamWorks Animation last year, but a deal was not announced.

Legendary is the maker of blockbuster hits such as Jurassic World, the Dark Knight Batman trilogy and Godzilla.

Chairman and chief executive Thomas Tull, who also started the company, will remain as the head of the studio.

Wanda described the deal as “China’s largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date”. It is aimed at increasing ties between Hollywood and the world’s fastest growing movie market, China.

The Chinese conglomerate said that Legendary’s films have grossed over $12bn globally.

Mr Wang said he plans to pair the Hollywood studio with its in-house film production unit and make a stock market listing. A timeline for the launch an initial public offering (IPO) was not given.

Wanda had released its earnings report a day earlier and said that its revenue rose 19% in 2015 from a year ago on a surge of sales in its leisure and financial businesses.

BBC

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