China Snatching Up More Luxury American Properties

Among Strategic Hotels' properties is the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile. PHOTO BY STEPHEN J. SERIO

Chinese insurance company, Anbang, purchased Waldorf Astoria last year, now buying more high-end lodging properties across the US.

Their latest trophy is Strategic Hotels, comprised of 16 properties, including the InterContinental and Fairmont hotels in downtown Chicago, the Four Seasons resorts in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Ritz-Carltons in Half Moon Bay and Laguna Niguel, Calif.,; San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado; and Manhattan’s JW Marriott Essex House.

New York Times reports:   The Chinese owner of the Waldorf Astoria is placing a bigger bet on high-end lodging in the United States.   The Blackstone Group has agreed to sell Strategic Hotels and Resorts in a deal valued at $6.5 billion just months after buying it, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who was not authorized to comment. The buyer is Anbang Insurance Group, which bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for $1.95 billion in 2014.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Related:    In November, Anbang agreed to buy U.S. annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL.N) for about $1.57 billion.[/pullquote]

With the deal, the Chinese insurance company would clinch a real estate investment trust that owns and invests in high-end properties. They include Four Seasons hotels and resorts in the Silicon Valley area, Washington and Jackson Hole, Wyo. Strategic Hotels also owns the JW Marriott Essex House Hotel near Central Park in Manhattan.

The deal is a quick turnaround for Blackstone. Just six months ago, the New York private equity firm struck a deal to buy Strategic Hotels valued at about $6 billion, including the assumption of debt.

With growth slowing at home and the renminbi weakening, Chinese companies have been looking overseas. When it bought the Waldorf two years ago, Anbang said it was eyeing stable investment returns from property in North America. Anbang has been active with its money in other industries in the United States, snapping up Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company late last year.

The insurance company has grown quickly in recent years and has assets worth 1.65 trillion renminbi and has about 30,000 employees. It has also expanded its services in banking and asset management.

(Via NY Times)


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