Dalian Wanda Group

After a lot of confusion, Wanda finally confirms sale of two units to Sunac China for US$900m

  • Wanda says it will continue to be involved in the tourism sector
PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 October, 2018, 11:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 1:04am

Wanda Group on Monday confirmed that it has agreed to sell two of its tourism units to Sunac China for 6.28 billion yuan (US$902 million), after denying an earlier report.

The agreement came after “friendly negotiations” with Sunac, a statement posted on Wanda’s website said. Wanda also agreed to unwind a separate hotel management deal with Sunac as part of this transaction.

A separate filing by Sunac to Hong Kong’s bourse late on Monday said the purchase of 75 per cent of Chengdu Wanda Theme Cultural and Tourism Management and 99 per cent of Wanda Culture Travel Innovation Group was to improve the projects’ management efficiency.

In July 2017, Wanda agreed to sell a 91 per cent stake in 13 of its culture and tourism assets, together with 76 hotels, under its eponymous brand to mainland property tycoon Sun Hongbin’s Sunac China for 63 billion yuan (US$9.4 billion).

This included the US$6 billion Harbin Wanda City resort featuring the world’s biggest indoor ski slope that opened in the middle of last year. Wanda, however, continued to operate the projects after the sale.

Watch: Wanda looks to sell most of its overseas properties

Monday’s statement contradicts a denial posted by Wanda on its website on October 17, after the financial magazine Caijing published a story the previous day which said Wanda was ready to sell the subsidiary.

Wanda said on Monday that it is bullish on China’s culture and tourism industry, and would continue to invest in the industry, adding it will partner with other companies including Sunac.

Wanda will retain its culture and tourism core team, and restructure some companies operating in the industry. The reason for the sale was due to “numerous inconveniences” resulting from the separation of the 13 projects’ ownership from its design and operating units.

Wanda has been forced to react to media reports at least twice this month.

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Last Friday it denied online reports that said it was considering selling part of its ownership in Legendary Entertainment – one of the largest independent film companies in Hollywood – and sports-related assets.

Following an overseas asset buying spree and buckling under scrutiny of China’s banking regulator to cut back on heavy debt accumulation, Wanda had to abandon a US$1 billion takeover of Dick Clark Production in March last year, after it failed to obtain regulatory approval to remit funds for the acquisition.

Wanda was among several privately controlled conglomerates – including Anbang Group, Fosun Group and the HNA Group – that were pressured by Beijing to pare back overseas assets and slash debt.