Monday 23 January 2017

Anbang's Wu pulls out of first speech since Marriot deal

Sarah Mulholland

Published 09/06/2016 | 02:30

Anbang bought the Waldorf Astoria last year
Anbang bought the Waldorf Astoria last year

Anbang Insurance Group's Wu Xiaohui cancelled a speaking engagement at the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts' (NAREIT) annual conference being held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York this week.

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Wu, who was scheduled to speak during lunch on Tuesday, sent his regrets on June 3, saying he was called away with other business, Ron Kuykendall, a spokesman for NAREIT. A representative for Anbang in New York said he couldn't immediately comment.

The Beijing-based company, one of China's most prominent overseas buyers of real estate, has kept a low public profile since abruptly pulling a $14bn takeover offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in March. More recently, the insurer withdrew its application to the New York Department of Financial Services to acquire Fidelity & Guaranty Life, which it agreed to buy for $1.6bn in November. It plans to refile "in the near future," according to a regulatory filing dated May 31.

Anbang has come under scrutiny by regulators in China, which planned to boost oversight, people familiar with the matter said in May. A press official for the company said at the time that it hasn't been notified of any inspection.

Anbang, which owns the Waldorf Astoria, is in contract to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts from Blackstone in a deal valued at about $6.5bn. Jon Gray, Blackstone's global head of real estate, said on Monday that he expects the deal to be completed. Strategic owns luxury resorts across the US including the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay in California and Manhattan's Essex House. (Bloomberg)

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