Sunac to pay record $9.3 billion for Wanda hotels, theme parks

Posted July 11, 2017

Wanda Owner Wang Jianlin is the second richest man in China, behind Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Dalian Wanda's businesses include cinema chains too.

Beijing began past year to roll out restrictions to curb overseas capital flight, which analysts said raises funding costs to companies like Wanda as lending to them is now viewed as more risky due to the constraints they face.

Last month, Wanda acknowledged that China's banking regulator had ordered an inspection of potentially risky loans to it and other major Chinese companies that have invested heavily overseas.

"This (deal) signifies a retreat from Wanda's previous strategy in cultural tourism, and marks a pivot to an asset-light strategy", said Qin Gang, senior researcher at State Information Center, a government-linked think tank.

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"Financial institutions don't really want to keep lending money to firms that are targeted by regulatory scrutiny".

The news also came a year after the group's chairman boasted he would drive Disneyland out of China. This fake Lamborghini is a 'Shanzhai' model of the kind that are growing in demand in China, where you can get a smart vehicle knock-off of a Land Rover, a Mercedes-Benz, or a BMW.

Wanda's need to cut its debt pile was seen as the main reason for the sale, with owner Wang Jianlin having reportedly said all the proceeds from the sale would be used to pay down the company's liabilities.

Wanda had earmarked a more than 300 billion yuan investment for its cultural and tourism projects.

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Embracing the "new retail" model to further connect online and offline shopping, Alibaba launched an experimental cashier-less coffee shop called "Tao Cafe", similar to the concept of Amazon Go which Amazon announced past year.

Wanda Hotel Development, the group's listed unit in Hong Kong, surged 94.83 percent to HK$1.13 by the break.

Sunac's shares in Hong Kong were suspended from trading ahead of what it said would be a "very substantial acquisition" announcement.

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