Blackstone said to weigh bidding for assets it sold to Anbang


SHANGHAIBlackstone Group LP, which scored big four years ago when a company it owned sold New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel for a record-setting price to a little-known Chinese insurer, may soon get a chance to own the iconic landmark again.

The US private equity firm has held initial discussions about bidding for Anbang Insurance Group Co assets in a sale overseen by the Chinese government, people with knowledge of the matter said. The assets include the Waldorf as well as Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc, which Blackstone sold to Anbang in 2016, said the people. Blackstone’s deliberations are at an early stage and the firm could refrain from bidding for any assets, one person said.

Anbang is among a crop of Chinese serial acquirers that spent tens of billions of dollars snapping up trophy assets over the past few years, only to lurch into turmoil once their strategies backfired. Blackstone was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Anbang’s largesse, selling at least a combined US$9.5 billion (RM37.43 billion) of assets to the insurer.

China’s government has cracked down on its most prolific dealmakers, bringing their overseas acquisitions to a screeching halt. Anbang’s chairman Wu Xiaohui was detained by authorities in June and a working team that included China’s insurance regulator was subsequently dispatched to Anbang to oversee the company’s operations and ensure its stability, people familiar with the matter said in January. In addition, the government is seeking to broker the sale of a stake in the insurer. — Bloomberg