Anbang Insurance Group Co. has hired Bank of America Corp. to help sell a portfolio of U.S. luxury hotels formerly known as Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. as it continues to reverse a global buying spree that raised the ire of Beijing, according to people familiar with the matter.
Anbang selected Bank of America to run the sale after seeking requests for proposals from an array of potential advisers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The portfolio includes the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the Fairmont in Chicago, Essex House Hotel in New York and the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“Anbang is reviewing its U.S. real estate portfolio after seeing a price recovery in local property assets,” an Anbang spokesman said by phone, declining to comment on any bank mandates. A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment.
Anbang agreed to buy Strategic Hotels from Blackstone Group LP in 2016 for about $6.5 billion, a roughly $450 million premium to what the New York firm had paid for the company just three months earlier. Anbang ended up paying about $1 billion less, or $5.5 billion, after U.S. national-security officials opposed the sale of one of Strategic’s most valuable properties — the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego — due to concerns regarding its proximity to a U.S. naval base.
Blackstone held initial discussions about bidding for some of Anbang’s assets, including Strategic Hotels and the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel, Bloomberg News reported in February.
Anbang, the acquisitive Chinese conglomerate that was earlier this year temporarily seized by the nation’s insurance regulator, has seen its former chairman sentenced to prison for fraud.
It has been accelerating efforts to sell assets and deleverage, including offloading China’s Hexie Health Insurance Co., Belgian insurer Fidea as well as, possibly, a stake in itself, Bloomberg has reported.