Anbang insists it has $14b for "in-line-with-rules" Starwood bid
A spokesperson for Anbang said the insurer's Starwood takeover bid conforms with rules and regulations and the company has an ample overseas investment quota for this year.
China's Anbang Insurance may get around domestic policy barriers with its increased offer of USD 14 billion for Starwood, topping the latest bid from its rival Marriott International.
A spokesman for Anbang said on Tuesday that the investment plan conforms with rules and regulations and the company has an ample overseas investment quota for this year.
Chinese financial magazine Caixin had reported that the China Insurance Regulatory Commission may refuse to give approval for two Anbang deals for the deals could violate a rule that restricts domestic insurance firms from investing more than 15 percent of their total assets abroad.
Starwood which owns the Sheraton and Westin brands, had said it had accepted a sweetened offer from Marriott International Inc. for US$ 13.6 billion in cash and stock.
The hotel operator then said on March 28 the Anbang-led consortium raised its bid again, to nearly US$ 14 billion, all in cash, which Starwood considered a “Superior Proposal”.
Anbang has spent about US$ 4.9 billion, or 30.7 billion yuan, on overseas acquisitions since 2014, public records show. Two recent proposals – including the one involving Starwood – and another transaction that has not been completed would cost the firm another US$ 21.3 billion, or 138.2 billion yuan.
Anbang says on its website its assets, which include several insurance subsidiaries and stock in a number of financial institutions, totaled more than 1.9 trillion yuan. It did not say how much of those assets are "insurance assets," based on which the regulator said it would calculate how much Anbang could invest abroad.
The high-profile companies that Anbang has bought include the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, US life insurance provider Fidelity and Guaranty Life, Belgium's Fidea Assurances and Delta Lloyd Bank, and Dutch insurance company VIVAT. Anbang has also taken a controlling stake in South Korea's Tong Yang Life.
A report by real estate consultancy company JLL in October said that China's outbound real estate investment had surged by 50 percent to $15.6 billion a year to date, fueled by insurers' growing interest in boosting the allocation of their real estate assets.