Independent comics publisher Dark Horse Entertainment has announced a partnership and major investment stake from Vanguard Visionary Associates, a Chinese media production company headed by Stanley Cheung, a former Disney executive.
According to a story in Forbes, the investment stake is rumored to be about $20 million and will give Vanguard a majority interest in Dark House.
In a release, the company said the investment, will “allow Dark Horse to fully finance development of properties from Dark Horse’s extensive content library as well as cultivate original ideas and acquire material for film and television, then co-finance the production of those projects.” The agreement will also expand Dark Horse's presence in international markets, particularly China.
Dark Horse founder and CEO Mark Richardson will continue to oversee day to day operations, while Vanguard's Cheung will join the Dark Horse board. Dark Horse is the publisher of such comics properties as Hellboy, Sin City, The Mask, Umbrella Academy and Resident Alien.
In the Forbes Interview Richardson described the Vanguard investment stake as “substantial,” but added that he will continue to own “a major stake” in Dark Horse. He emphasized that the investment will support publishing and retail operations in addition to creating a development fund for film projects based on Dark Horse comics properties.
In the release, Richardson said that the Vanguard investment, “will allow us to accelerate our growth and extend our reach worldwide. It will also present new opportunities for our employees as well as the talented content creators we work with."
Cheung, who is the former chairman of the Walt Disney Company in Greater China, said, “We see a great fit between our companies. We feel that by combining our efforts we will be able to enhance Dark Horse's visibility internationally on the way to making it a leader in the film business, while also making its publishing and product offerings available to new fans around the world."