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Chinese insurer Anbang to acquire America’s Strategic Hotels for US$6.5 billion, says source

Owner of New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria expands US hotel portfolio

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 March, 2016, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 May, 2016, 3:28pm

China’s Anbang Insurance has agreed to acquire Strategic Hotels & Resorts for around US$6.5 billion, as the owner of New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria expands its US hotel portfolio, a source who was briefed on the deal said on Saturday.

The deal, which illustrates corporate China’s unquenched thirst for US real estate, comes just three months after Strategic Hotels’ current owner, private equity firm Blackstone, took the company private for around US$6 billion.

Anbang and Strategic Hotels did not respond to requests for comment, while Blackstone declined to comment.

Strategic Hotels’ properties include the US capital’s Four Seasons Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Westin St Francis on Union Square in San Francisco and the beach-front Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Orange County, California.

Anbang purchased New York’s Waldorf Astoria from Hilton Worldwide in 2014 for US$1.95 billion, one of the highest prices per room ever paid for a US hotel. The deal closed in February last year following a review by US national security watchdog the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

At the time Blackstone took it private, Strategic Hotels owned 17 hotels operated by top hospitality chains including Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels and Marriott International.

Chinese investment in hotels has been growing since 2011 and 2012, when just US$160 million and US$130 million were invested respectively, according to data from JLL, a global real estate broker and advisory services company based in Chicago.

In November, Anbang agreed to buy US annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life for about US$1.57 billion.

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