Wanda Group Looks to Buy Financial Cos
Group is considering European banks, including Deutsche Postbank
Bi l l ion a i r e Wang Ji a n l i n’s Dalian Wanda Group is examining potential purchases in the financial industry as the Chinese conglomerate seeks to bolster that business, people familiar with the matter said. Wanda is looking at European banks, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The Beijingbased conglomerate is also looking at securities firms both at home and abroad, another person said. The Financial Times reported on Monday Wanda is actively looking into several European financial institutions and that Deutsche Postbank was on the list of candidates. The Chinese group then issued a statement saying it had not held discussions with Postbank.
Yet Wanda’s study of possible targets signals the closely held company, which has been expanding into Hollywood in recent years to diversify away from its property roots, could be making a broad push into banking. Last year, the group reorganised its financial business, which includes a life insurer, and hired the former chairman of a Chinese bank.
Such a move, pa r ticu l a rly i f it involved the acquisition of a European bank, would be fraught with challenges, according to Wei Hou, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C Bernstein. “The chance of Wanda buying a European bank is rather slim,” Hou said by phone on Monday. “It won’t be easy for Wanda to get approval from regulators in Europe because they don’t normally allow companies without banking operating background to take over their banks.” One company that’s recent ly b ou g ht i nto Europea n ba n k s is Shanghai-based Fosun International, which recently said it increased its stake in Portugal’s Banco Comercial Portugues to almost 24%.
Wanda’s f i n a nci a l d iv i sion, founded in July 2015, began with a focus on Internet finance but the business was overhauled last year and is now headed by Dong Ji a ny ue, for mer chai r man of China Guangfa Bank. The business includes an investment company and Aeon Life Insurance.
Billionaire Wang Jianlin