GIC among final bidders for Anbang portfolio of 15 hotels

NEW YORK • Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and US private equity giant Blackstone Group were among bidders for a portfolio of 15 hotels owned by Anbang Insurance Group, the Financial Times (FT) reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources.

Anbang, under temporary control of Chinese government regulators, received offers of as much as US$5.8 billion (S$8 billion), the newspaper said.

Other potential buyers to reach the final round included Canada's Brookfield Asset Management, South Korea's Mirae Asset Management and Fortress Investment Group, owned by Japan's SoftBank Group, FT said.

The Chinese firm hired Bank of America to sell the hotels, which include Westin St Francis in San Francisco, the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the Fairmont in Chicago, and the JW Marriott Essex House in New York.

It initially agreed to acquire Strategic Hotels from Blackstone in 2016 for about US$6.5 billion, some US$450 million more than the New York firm paid just three months earlier.

Eventually, it paid about US$1 billion less, or around US$5.5 billion, after United States national security officials opposed the sale of the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, as it was close to a US naval base.

Anbang, whose former chairman was sentenced to prison for fraud, has been accelerating efforts to sell assets and deleverage, including offloading China's Hexie Health Insurance and Belgian insurer Fidea.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'GIC among final bidders for Anbang portfolio of 15 hotels'. Print Edition | Subscribe