Corporate China’s feverish pursuit of foreign assets has triggered a battle for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, after a group led by Anbang Insurance sought to trump Marriott with a $13bn bid for the owner of the Sheraton chain.
Just a day after Anbang agreed a $6.5bn purchase of US group Strategic Hotels & Resorts, the all-cash bid is the latest act in an aggressive global buying spree by Chinese companies seeking overseas assets as growth slows at home.
The bid throws into disarray Marriott’s planned takeover of Starwood, agreed in November, although the US hotel operator said yesterday it remained committed to closing the deal.
The bid for Starwood is the boldest yet for Beijing-based Anbang, which has announced at least $23bn in purchases in 18 months, including the $2bn takeover of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Debt-fuelled Chinese companies have been splashing out billions of dollars on assets globally, putting them on track for another record year of acquisitions. Overseas spending by Chinese buyers this year has already reached $102bn, according to Dealogic, just shy of last year’s record of $106bn.
The unlisted Anbang has powerful political connections. Wu Xiaohui, who founded it in 2004, is married to the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping, China’s former leader and architect of its transition out of a planned economy.
Under Mr Wu, Anbang has grown rapidly; the size of its registered capital rose from Rmb500m ($77m) in 2004, to Rmb61.9bn ($9.5bn) a decade later. Anbang has sought to emulate the model adopted by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway of using insurance premium cash to fund acquisitions.
Anbang has bought a variety of international assets, from Canadian property to Dutch insurance, in the past two years. The only setback was the collapse of a ￠3.5bn bid for Portuguese lender Novo Banco, after political objections scuppered what would have been the first Chinese acquisition of a systemically important European bank.
Starwood, which declined to name the bidders, said the unsolicited bid valued its shares at $76 each — higher than the present value of Marriott’s cash and stock offer, which was worth about $63.74 after its shares fell yesterday .
Shares in Starwood, which also owns the St Regis and W Hotel brands,rose 7.5 per cent to $75.69 just before midday in New York. Anbang’s partners in the consortium are JC Flowers and China’s Primavera Capital Group, one person involved in the bidding process said.
Anbang tried to buy Starwood last year, when the US group was undertaking a strategic review, according to one person familiar with the matter.
While Anbang appears to be building an American hotels portfolio, the businesses of Starwood and Strategic Hotels are very different. Starwood manages properties, most of which it does not own. Strategic Hotels owns properties that are managed by other hotel brands.
Marriott has granted Starwood a waiver to discuss a deal with Anbang, which expires on March 17.
Additional reporting by Sujeet Indap in New York
中国企业对境外资产的狂热追逐引发了围绕喜达屋酒店及度假村国际集团(Starwood Hotels & Resorts)的竞购战，以安邦保险(Anbang Insurance)为首的一个财团寻求压过万豪(Marriott)，对喜来登(Sheraton)连锁酒店的东家发出了总价约130亿美元的收购要约。
就在前一天，安邦同意斥资65亿美元收购美国酒店集团Strategic Hotels & Resorts，这笔全现金收购是中国企业在全球积极抢购的最新行动。随着国内经济增长放缓，中国企业正寻求收购境外资产。
竞购喜达屋是总部位于北京的安邦迄今发起的最大胆行动。该集团在过去18个月已宣布至少230亿美元收购交易，包括20亿美元收购纽约华尔道夫酒店(Waldorf Astoria hotel)。
在吴小晖执掌下，安邦快速发展壮大；其注册资本从2004年的5亿元人民币（合7700万美元）增至10年后的619亿元人民币（合95亿美元）。安邦试图仿效沃伦?巴菲特(Warren Buffett)的伯克希尔?哈撒韦公司(Berkshire Hathaway)采用的模式，即利用保费收入为收购提供资金。
喜达屋旗下还拥有瑞吉酒店(St Regis)和W酒店(W Hotel)品牌。该集团股价在纽约午盘前上涨7.5%，至75.69美元。参与竞购过程的一名人士表示，安邦在财团中的合作伙伴是JC Flowers以及中国的春华资本集团(Primavera Capital Group)。
尽管安邦似乎在构建一个美国酒店的资产组合，但喜达屋和Strategic Hotels的业务非常不同。喜达屋管理很多酒店地产，其中大部分的业主并不是该集团。Strategic Hotels拥有的酒店地产则由其他酒店品牌进行管理。