Jeremy Steinberg
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Alibaba’s Ma Said to Step Up Hollywood Content Push

Billionaire Jack Ma is stepping up his Hollywood dealmaking push, leading a team of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) executives meeting with studios to acquire online content, people with knowledge of the situation said.

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Billionaire Jack Ma is stepping up his Hollywood dealmaking push

Alibaba founder Ma will meet in coming days with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF),Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures,Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’sWarner Bros., Sony Corp. (6758), Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba will seek deals that give it the right to distribute U.S. movies and TV shows at home, or invest in studio stakes, the people said.

Armed with $25 billion from a September initial public offering, Alibaba is on the prowl for entertainment it can sell to Chinese consumers through its set-top boxes, which also offer goods from its e-commerce site, the world’s largest. Like Chinese peers Fosun International Ltd. and Dalian Wanda Group Corp., Alibaba has expanded ties in Hollywood while navigating challenges such as piracy and censorship in mainland China.

“Entertainment and film is a very important part of Alibaba’s ecosystem,” said Alex Wang, a Beijing-based analyst at Internet consulting group IResearch. “The film industry is a really lucrative business, which will become an important growth driver for Alibaba.”