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Dalian Wanda Selling its Theme Parks, Hotels as Disney China Outpaces It
12 July 2017, 12:43 | Frank Carlson
Its billionaire owner Wang Jianlin had said past year that his "wolf pack" of parks would beat American rival Walt Disney.
Property developed Sunac China Holdings Ltd will pay Wanda about $9.3 billion for the hotels.
Primarily a real estate company, Wanda also took aim at the tourism industry by pledging to unseat Disney as a top brand. Sunac's 15 acquisitions since the start of past year included a deal with technology company Legend Holdings Corp. that spanned 42 property projects across 16 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou, according to Bloomberg data.
The developer has more than doubled in market value this year to HK$65.7 billion ($8.41 billion).
The company is now going with an asset-light strategy. Last August, Wanda signed a $9.3-billion co-development deal to build a sports-themed park in the city of Jinan, to include a 10,000-seat stadium, a mall, hotels, and other facilities.
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But they have reversed course as concerns grow over capital flight, a weakened Chinese currency, and potentially unsound acquisitions. Another downgrade would push the rating into "junk" category.
"Through this asset transfer, Wanda Commercial's debt ratio will be greatly reduced, all the proceeds will be used to repay loans. Wanda Commercial will pay off all bank loans by the end of this year". "Sunac could be seeking more exposure outside of just purely property development, as growth of Chinese new home sales will likely slow in the long-run".
Wanda said other domestic companies that invested aggressively overseas also were being scrutinised, including Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux, a consortium that recently purchased Italian football club AC Milan, Club Med's owner Fosun Group, and HNA Group.
It controls the AMC cinema chain, as well as Legendary Entertainment, co-producer of hit films including Godzilla and The Dark Knight Rises.
Hong Kong-listed Sunac suspended its shares ahead of Monday's announcement, but Wanda Hotel Development closed almost 47 percent higher at HK$0.85, having skyrocketed to as high as HK$1.48 earlier in the day.
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