Starwood, Fosun 'eyeing hotel owner'

The Park Hotel Clarke Quay, one of the hotels in Ascendas Hospitality's portfolio.
The Park Hotel Clarke Quay, one of the hotels in Ascendas Hospitality's portfolio.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Sources say they could submit offers for Ascendas Hospitality Trust as early as end-Jan

SINGAPORE • Property investment firm Starwood Capital Group, and Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang's Fosun International are weighing bids for Ascendas Hospitality Trust, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Starwood Capital, which manages about US$45 billion (S$65 billion) of assets, and Fosun are studying the Singapore-based hotel owner and could submit offers as early as the end of this month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Blackstone Group and Hong Kong's Gaw Capital Partners have also been considering bids for Ascendas Hospitality, which has a market value of $822 million, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Units of Ascendas Hospitality jumped 4.3 per cent, the biggest gain in almost a month, to 73.5 cents at 12.05pm yesterday.

Any offer for Ascendas Hospitality would add to the US$8.9 billion in acquisitions of Singapore real estate companies and property trusts announced in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ascendas Hospitality said last month it was reviewing strategic options after receiving unsolicited interest. A spokesman for Fosun declined to comment, while a spokesman for Ascendas Group said she could not immediately comment. Calls to Starwood Capital's Hong Kong office were not answered.

Ascendas Hospitality owns 11 hotels with 4,100 rooms in Australia, China, Japan and Singapore. Its properties include Novotel Sydney Central, Ibis Beijing Sanyuan and Park Hotel Clarke Quay, according to its website. The weakening Australian currency and record tourist arrivals are boosting overseas investors' interest in the country's hotel assets, says Colliers International. Australia accounted for 56 per cent of Ascendas Hospitality's net property income for the quarter ended Sept 30, followed by Singapore with 16 per cent, according to a company presentation.

Starwood Capital agreed last year to buy US apartments from Equity Residential for US$5.4 billion in its biggest acquisition of non-hotel properties. Starwood Capital and Milestone Apartments Real Estate Investment Trust said in October they would buy Landmark Apartment Trust, an owner of multi-family properties, in a US$1.9 billion deal.

Fosun, which owns resort operator Club Mediterranee and a stake in Cirque du Soleil, has businesses including insurance, pharmaceuticals and fashion. Its property portfolio includes the Lloyds Chambers office building in London and New York's One Chase Manhattan Plaza.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Starwood, Fosun 'eyeing hotel owner''. Print Edition | Subscribe