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Anbang Drops Hotel Deal, Swaps In Hong Kong-backed Shell Company

Anbang Drops Hotel Deal, Swaps In Hong Kong-backed Shell Company

In late March, just after China’s Anbang Insurance (Chairman Wu Xiaohui pictured, left) dropped its bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts (after nearly stealing the company from Marriott), the company opened talks for a $744M hotel portfolio owned by InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust. Just like in the Starwood deal, Anbang walked away from the table after weeks of negotiation.

In this case, though, Anbang suggested another buyer—Bluesky Hotels and Resorts, a Canada-based shell company backed by unnamed Hong Kong investors, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The same exec who spearheaded the original deal, Lydia Chen, continued to negotiate the Bluesky deal, although a spokesman for Anbang told the Wall Street Journal “speculation linking Anbang to Bluesky is incorrect. There is no connection between Anbang and Bluesky.”

Anbang is known for its opaque structure—with 39 corporate shareholders and ties to Chinese officials. The backers of Bluesky were identified simply as Hong Kong investors. [WSJ]