Owners of Waldorf Astoria asked by China to sell hotel and assets
Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group has been instructed by Chinese authorities to sell off their foreign assets, which include the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The insurance company has a spread of assets overseas, after going on a spending spree in the last three years with the purpose of accruing foreign acquisitions in a bid to position themselves abroad, eventually making a name for themselves on Wall Street. However, the company’s dealings have been overshadowed recently with the controversy surrounding its Chairman Wu Xiaohui, who has been held for questioning since the middle of the summer, and also by the keen eye that is being kept on them by regulators who are skeptical of their takeover policies.
The group has risen to prominence in recent years due to the sale of a number of high-performing investment products, until China started to reel in its insurance companies, citing “improper innovation” as the reason. A recent conference on financial regulation held in China and organised by Chinese president Xi Jinping has offered stern warnings to borrowers in an effort to shore up capital and prevent systemic risk. Anbang, for its part, has said that as yet is has no intention of selling off its foreign assets and that the running of the company is continuing as normal.
Anbang has been buying up hotels as part of their purchasing binge since 2014. The Waldorf Astoria acquisition was the one that really put them on the map, but they also are in possession of Strategic Hotels and Resorts, which the acquired in a takeover bid that closed in 2016 for $6.5 billion. If they end up going ahead with the sale of the Waldorf and other assets, China has said that the funds must be brought back to China once the sales are complete.
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