Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

China's Wanda Retreats from Theme Park Business With $9.3 Billion Deal

Dalian Wanda Dalian Wanda
Saul Franklin | 11 July, 2017, 00:49

Chinese property giant Dalian Wanda Group is selling some of its assets to Sunac China for $9.3 billion.

In a brief joint statement, the two companies said Sunac would buy 76 hotels outright, without specifying which properties.

Primarily a real estate company, Wanda also took aim at the tourism industry by pledging to unseat Disney as a top brand.

Under the deal, Wanda will offload 91 percent of thirteen cultural tourism projects, which usually include theme parks and leisure complexes, and 76 hotels to the acquisitive Tianjin-based developer Sunac for 63.18 billion yuan. "Wanda Commercial plans to pay back the majority of bank loans within this year", he was quoted saying.

Wanda is headed by Wang Jianlin, whose $31 billion net worth makes him China's wealthiest citizen and the world's 18th-wealthiest person, according to Forbes.

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Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale agreed, and said young consumers are leading the charge away from brick-and-mortar shopping. The Michigan Kmarts set to close are in Monroe and Escanaba, leaving the Upper Peninsula with a single Kmart location.

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.

"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. This fake Lamborghini is a 'Shanzhai' model of the kind that are growing in demand in China, where you can get a smart auto knock-off of a Land Rover, a Mercedes-Benz, or a BMW.

Wanda Properties International Co's (萬達商業地產有限公司) bonds also rose. The tourism sites will retain Wanda's name.

The planned purchase is the latest aggressive move by fast-growing Sunac, which has struck a number of recent deals. In January it invested $2.2bn in Chinese tech firm LeEco, which has previously acknowledged that it expanded too rapidly and was facing a cash crunch. The developer closed 6.9 percent lower on Friday.

Sunac yesterday halted trading of its shares in Hong Kong pending an announcement of a "very substantial" acquisition, it said.

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