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Stocks

Deal with billionaire actress sends Zhejiang Wanjia shares surging

Star investor Zhao Wei becomes anime company's top stakeholder

HONG KONG -- Anime producer Zhejiang Wanjia's shares rose sharply in Shanghai on Thursday, as investors took a cue from a Chinese actress's partial acquisition of the company.

The stock on Thursday morning became available for trading after a hiatus of more than a month. The opening price reached 20.22 yuan, up 1.84 yuan, or 10.01%, from the close on Nov. 25, when it last changed hands. The price remained stuck there, as it had reached the daily fluctuation limit. 

The market reacted to the company's announcement on Dec. 27 that actress Zhao Wei, a billionaire known for her investing prowess, had purchased a stake. Zhao's apparent ties to Alibaba Group Holding Executive Chairman Jack Ma Yun also fueled speculative buying.

According to the announcement, Zhejiang Wanjia's parent agreed to sell a stake equivalent to 29% of total outstanding shares to a company owned by Zhao and her husband. The deal was worth some 3.06 billion yuan ($440 million). This makes Zhao's company the top shareholder, giving it virtual control of Zhejiang Wanjia.

Zhejiang Wanjia suspended its shares on the Shanghai market on Nov. 28, ahead of the announcement. It issued another announcement about the deal before the market opened on Thursday.

Zhao's portfolio includes a stake in Alibaba Pictures Group, a film production company listed in Hong Kong.

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