Wanda Group Looks to Buy Fi­nan­cial Cos

Group is con­sid­er­ing Euro­pean banks, in­clud­ing Deutsche Post­bank

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

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

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