US$416m acquisition of controlling stake by HNA in US-based Global Eagle Entertainment called off

HNA unit Beijing Shareco Technologies and Global Eagle had said Shareco would acquire up to 34.9pc of the US firm for around US$416m and become its single largest shareholder

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 10:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 10:25pm

A US$416 million investment in US-based Global Eagle Entertainment by a unit of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has been cancelled, as the deal did not receive regulatory approval by an agreed date.

Global Eagle, in a securities filing, said the “outside date” specified under the investment agreement had passed without any notification of approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

The announcement comes as the CFIUS, which reviews US acquisitions by foreign entities for national security risks, is becoming more risk-averse under President Donald Trump.

At the same time, China’s government is increasingly scrutinising banking relationships and aggressive deal-making of some large conglomerates, as it looks to restrict the flow of capital out of the country.

In November, Global Eagle and HNA unit Beijing Shareco Technologies said Shareco would acquire up to 34.9 per cent of the US firm for around US$416 million and become its single largest shareholder.

The pair also planned to form a Chinese joint venture focused on in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC).

Global Eagle said in its filing that with the main investment agreement cancelled, “other related agreements” entered into with Beijing Shareco would also be terminated.

However, it said it continued to operate under existing agreements to provide IFEC equipment and services to Hainan Airlines Holding, Beijing Capital Airlines Holding and Yangtze River Airlines – all affiliated with HNA.

“The company and HNA continue to discuss opportunities to expand their relationship in the Chinese market for IFEC equipment and services,” Global Eagle said, adding there was no assurance such talks would result in any definitive agreements.

HNA and Beijing Shareco did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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