Get­ting in on the act

China Life buys $2 bil­lion stake in Starwood Ho­tels

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

Starwood Cap­i­tal Group sold a stake val­ued at about $2 bil­lion inUS ho­tels toChi­naLife In­surance Co, ex­tend­ing a streak of Chi­nese in­vest­ment in over­seas lodg­ing prop­er­ties and travel-re­lated busi­nesses.

China Life, the coun­try’s largest life-in­surance com­pany, will be the lead in­vestor in the prop­er­ties, with sovereign-wealth funds and oth­ers also own­ing a piece of the 280 se­lect-ser­vice ho­tels in 40 US states, Starwood said in a state­ment on Tues­day.

The whole port­fo­lio is val­ued at more than $3 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Starwood. The Green­wich, Con­necti­cut­based firm, which last year sold New York’s lux­ury Bac­carat ho­tel to an­other Chi­nese in­surer, will con­tinue to be the as­set man­ager.

“With this se­lect-ser­vice ho­tel port­fo­lio, China Life has an ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cle for in­vest­ing in the United States econ­omy,” Barry Stern­licht, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Starwood Cap­i­tal, said in the state­ment.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with China Life on ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties across a wide range of real es­tate as­set classes in the years to come.”

Chi­nese in­vestors have been buy­ing ho­tel and travel busi­nesses around the world as out­bound tourism surges and China’s econ­omy and wealth ex­pand.

An­bang In­surance Group Co last month ac­quired 15 lux­ury US ho­tels, in­clud­ing New York’s JW Mar­riott Es­sex House and the Westin St Fran­cis in San Fran­cisco, as part of a $6.5 bil­lion pur­chase from Blackstone Group LP.

An­bang helped usher in a wave of Chi­nese in­vest­ment in US ho­tels with its Fe­bru­ary 2015 pur­chase of New York’s Wal­dorf As­to­ria for $1.95 bil­lion, the high­est price paid for a US ho­tel.

The Bei­jing-based com­pany started a bid­ding war for Starwood Ho­tels & Re­sorts World­wide Inc in­March.

BLOOMBERG

Pedes­tri­ans walk past the W Ho­tel Hol­ly­wood, owned by Starwood Ho­tels & Re­sorts World­wide Inc, in Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia.

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