First Vanguard, Raymond Wong to raise $100m movie fund

Pegasus First Vanguard will invest in movies and television programmes targeted at the Chinese market. Wong will chair the fund's investment committee and will also be the executive producer of the films it invests in.

Asian management group First Vanguard Assets has teamed up with Hong Kong actor and producer Raymond Wong to raise $100 million for Pegasus First Vanguard, a film and television fund.

The fund will invest in movies and television programmes targeting the Chinese market. It is targeting a first close on approximately $50 million at the end of this year and a final close in June 2010. The fund intends to raise capital from financial institutions and high net worth individuals in Asia. It has an average deal size of between $5 million and $10 million and is open to co-investments, Richard Yin, chairman of First Vanguard, said in an interview.

The investment mandate allows for a debt component in the fund's capital structure although the fund is currently targeting to raise 100 percent in equity, Yin added. Pelican Financial Group is the fund's placement agent.

“We are geared towards China as under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), Hong Kong-produced films have access to distribution in China,” Yin said.

CEPA is a 2005 agreement between China and Hong Kong, under which Chinese language movies produced by Hong Kong companies enjoy access to the larger China market without being subject to an import quota.

Wong will be the chairman of the fund’s investment committee and will also be the executive producer of the films the fund invests in. He has already identified 10 movie projects and one television series to invest in, Yin added.

Ip Man

Wong is well-known in Asia. In 1991, he founded Mandarin Films Distribution, a film production company and distributor. Recently, Wong produced Ip Man, a martial arts movie based on the life of Ip Man, Bruce Lee’s martial arts master, which won best picture at the Hong Kong Film Awards in April.

Set up in 2004, First Vanguard presently manages two funds focused on private equity and real estate investments in Asia. The firm has offices in China and Hong Kong. 

Another China-focused film fund, the Tiger Portfolio Film Fund closed on $150 million this May, according to entertainment trade website Variety.com. Reportedly, a joint venture between China’s Tiger 8 Media and Wuxi Jinyuan Industry Investment and Development Company, the fund will invest in films made in China.

In April, Indian financial services-focused firm Religare Enterprises upped its stake in Vistaar Religare Capital Advisors from 50 percent to 74 percent. Vistaar Religare Capital Advisors manages the INR2 billion ($42 million; €30 million) Vistaar Religare Film Fund, which invests in film projects as well as companies and ventures involved in film production in India.