Chinese developer Sunac to buy $9.3 bn of Wanda assets

Posted July 11, 2017

The Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which has made headlines for its global acquisition spree, has said it will sell 76 hotels and a major chunk of 13 tourism projects to the property developer Sunac China for $9.3 billion.

The purchase is actually two separate deals: one for 76 hotels owned by Wanda, and another for 91 percent of 13 culture and tourism projects that Wanda owns.

The sale, which is China's second biggest property deal ever according to Reuters data, also includes at least nine other theme parks and tourist attractions which are yet to be built.

The deal is believed to be part of Wanda's drive to cut its massive debt load and bolster its case with Beijing regulators for an IPO.

The transaction was also seen aiding Wanda's case for a mainland listing after its property unit delisted from Hong Kong past year.

Some analysts believe that, having delisted from the Hong Kong market past year, a smaller debt pile will strengthen the argument for relisting in mainland China. The deal is expected to be signed by the end of the month, Bloomberg reported.

Wanda said Tianjin-based Sunac, led by magnate Sun Hongbin, will be responsible for all the loans for the projects, but the brand name and design of the projects will remain unchanged, and they will still be operated and managed by Wanda.

With the latest deal, Sun targeted assets from fellow billionaire Wang Jianlin (王健林), who was among the most acquisitive Chinese tycoons up till a year ago. Wanda will use all proceeds from the deal to pay back loans, according to the report, which also cited an interview with Wanda's Wang.

Sunac has emerged as the most acquisitive Chinese developer in the past 12 months and its property holdings have expanded rapidly, from four cities in 2011 to 44 a year ago.

In January it invested $2.2 billion in Chinese tech firm LeEco, which has acknowledged that it expanded too rapidly and was now facing a cash crunch.