Wanda tycoon Wang takes control of Hong Kong-listed hotels unit for US$469 million
In the latest step in the ongoing reorganisation of Dalian Wanda Group, Wanda Hotel Development becomes sole HK-listed platform
Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin is buying a controlling 65 per cent stake in Hong Kong-listed company
Wanda Hotel Development for HK$3.67 billion (US$469 million), at HK$1.20 per share, the latest step in the ongoing reorganisation of his Dalian Wanda Group.
According to a regulatory filing on Monday, Wanda Investment Holding, a company wholly owned by Wang, has signed a non-legally binding letter of intent to buy 65 per cent of Wanda Hotel Development from Wanda Commercial Properties Overseas, which is also majority-owned by Wang.
The offer of HK$1.20 per share for the listed company is a 25 per cent discount to Wanda Hotel’s shares before the announcement was made during the midday trading break.
Wanda Hotel shares rose to as high as HK$1.67 after the announcement, extending their daily gain to over 16 per cent, before easing back at the close to a gain of 10.5 per cent. Wanda shares have jumped nearly 50 per cent since last Monday’s close.
The statement said the ultimate controlling shareholder of Wanda Hotel Development would be unchanged after the proposed transfer, as Wang Jianlin had received a waiver from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission on the need to make a general offer after the deal, according to the statement.
The transfer followed Wanda Hotel Development’s proposed acquisition of the entire equity interest in Wanda Hotel Management, Wang Jianlin’s prime “asset-light” hotel management, hotel franchising and consulting operations. A shareholders' meeting is scheduled for December 8 to vote on that proposal.
“But one thing is certain: Wanda Hotel Development has become the sole Hong Kong-listed platform of the Wanda Group,” said Liu Feifan, a property analyst at Guotai Junan International.
“And its importance within the group is only going to rise, after the drama of last summer and Wanda Commercial Properties’ long-delayed relisting attempt on the A-share market.”
Liu was referring to Wanda Group’s overseas financing arm being reined in by Beijing as the government clamped down on what it said was “irrational outbound investment” by Wanda.
Wang was forced to dispose of his portfolio of 77 hotels and 13 theme parks to two rival developers in July at a knockdown price of US$9.3 billion, to ease what was being viewed as financing strains developing at the firm.
Wang delisted Wanda Commercial Properties in Hong Kong in September 2016 to seek a better valuation in mainland China. But the relisting has been stalled since then.
In a sign that Beijing was now relaxing its apparent grip on Wanda, the group received written approval on November 7 from the National Development and Reform Commission to issue an offshore bond.