updated 1/9/2009 7:31:16 PM ET 2009-01-10T00:31:16

The Walt Disney Co. said Friday that it was going to submit a plan to build a new theme park in China in a joint venture with the Shanghai government.

The family entertainment giant released a statement confirming its plans at about the same time as The Wall Street Journal released a story on its Web site that said Disney was working with Shanghai to build a $3.59 billion park to open as early as 2014.

A Disney spokesman declined to comment on the Journal story.

"Discussions have been ongoing about the feasibility of a theme park project in China," said Leslie Goodman, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in the statement.

"As part of this lengthy process, we worked on a joint application report with the Shanghai government which will be submitted to the central government for review. No deal has been signed, no project has been approved."

Disney shares closed down 59 cents, or 2.6 percent, at $22.31.

The Journal said Disney planned to take a 43 percent stake in Shanghai Disneyland, while a holding company owned by the local government would own 57 percent, citing unnamed sources.

The first phase of the project, on about 1.5 square kilometers near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, would include a theme park, plus a hotel and shopping development and would be built over six years, the paper said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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