Big buy­out

Pri­va­ti­za­tion a vic­tory for Wang Jian­lin after re­cent tough months

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By BLOOMBERG

Bil­lion­aire Wang Jian­lin has won Wanda share­holder ap­proval to buy out his prop­erty unit for $4.4 bil­lion, pav­ing the way for the big­gest ever pri­va­ti­za­tion deal in Hong Kong.

Bil­lion­aire Wang Jian­lin won share­hold­ers’ ap­proval to buy out his prop­erty unit for HK$34.5 bil­lion ($4.4 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter, clear­ing the way for the big­gest-ever pri­va­ti­za­tion deal in Hong Kong.

The HK$52.80-a-share bid for all of Dalian Wanda Com­mer­cial Prop­er­ties Co’s Hong Kong-listed shares re­ceived the nec­es­sary sup­port of mi­nor­ity in­vestors at an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing of share­hold­ers in Bei­jing on Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied ahead of an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment. Wanda didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

The de­ci­sion sets the stage for the chair­man of Dalian Wanda Group Co to re­lo­cate the prop­erty de­vel­oper’s list­ing to the Chi­nese main­land, where com­pa­nies are fetch­ing higher val­u­a­tions than in Hong Kong. The vic­tory is a re­lief for the Chi­nese ty­coon, one of Asia’s most pro­lific deal­mak­ers, who’s re­cently been fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties com­plet­ing trans­ac­tions at home and abroad.

Wanda Com­mer­cial shares were sus­pended from trad­ing pend­ing the an­nounce­ment of the vote. They closed at HK$51.20 on Fri­day, or 3 per­cent be­low the buy­out of­fer.

Aside from be­ing the big­gest go­ing-pri­vate deal on the Hong Kong Stock Ex­change, the trans­ac­tion is poised to be the largest ac­qui­si­tion to date for a ty­coon who’s al­ready hav­ing his big­gest year ever in terms of merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by Bloomberg.

Ahead of the vote, Wang clinched the en­dorse­ment of the two largest mi­nor­ity in­vestors in Wanda Com­mer­cial and the two most in­flu­en­tial proxy ad­vi­sory firms — In­sti­tu­tional Share­holder Ser­vices Inc and Glass Lewis & Co.

Last month, Wanda Com­mer­cial made the rare move of is­su­ing state­ments that the two big­gest in­vestors— China Life In­sur­ance Co and Kuwait In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity — would vote for the deal after Bloomberg News re­ported that the $483 bil­lion as­set­man­age­ment arm of APG Groep NV balked at the of­fer as be­ing too low.

A failed bid for Wand a Com­mer­cial would have added to what’s been a tough few months for Wang. This month, the ty­coon scrapped a $5.6 bil­lion re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of his en­ter­tain­ment as­sets and in July, one of his units was forced to raise its of­fer for Car mike Cin­e­mas Inc after mi­nor­ity in­vestors op­posed the bid.

Be­yond M&As, Wang’s Chi­nese movie-theater chain op­er­a­tor, Wanda Cin­ema Line Co, has been los­ing mar­ket share amid a slow­ing do­mes­tic box of­fice and he re­cently shut a theme park in Wuhan, Wubei prov­ince, for ren­o­va­tion, less than two years after the park’s open­ing.

Only 14 per­cent of Wanda Com­mer­cial’s shares are avail­able to trade on the ex­change. The rest are un­listed, reg­is­tered in the Chi­nese main­land and mainly con­trolled by Wang.

BLOOMBERG

Wang Jian­lin, chair­man and pres­i­dent of Dalian Wanda Group Co, speaks dur­ing the Hong Kong Asian Fi­nan­cial Fo­rum.

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