Blackstone reportedly in early stages to buy back Anbang assets

The Waldorf Astoria New York. Photo credit: Flickr/Jordi Sabaté(Image: Jordi Sabaté / CC BY 2.0)

Private equity firm Blackstone Group sold New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel to Anbang Insurance Group back in 2014 for close to $2 billion, ushering in the era of major Chinese investment in U.S. real estate assets.

But as we said at the time, "not so fast, my friend." Less than four years after that huge deal was announced, Blackstone is reportedly in talks to re-acquire a number of assets that it sold to Anbang—including the Waldorf Astoria and the 16 Strategic Hotels and Resorts properties it sold for $6.5 billion in 2016. 

But now, in the wake of China's crackdown on outbound real estate investment, companies like Anbang, Dalian Wanda, Fosun International and HNA Group are looking to offload their assets, including the headline-making deals like Anbang's acquisitions.

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If the two companies can come to terms, the Chinese government will oversee and broker the transaction for the hotels, but Blackstone may choose not to bid on the hotels at all. 

Blackstone was a major vendor in Anbang's buying spree after selling approximately $9.5 billion in assets to the company, but Anbang ended its acquisitions when the Chinese government began restricting what it called unnecessary overseas investments in leisure sectors from domestic investors. 

Beijing authorities forced other firms to divest in overseas assets as well. These include HNA Group, who aims to sell a $4-billion portfolio of U.S. assets.

Dalian Wanda Group has also been rushing to divest in its overseas assets, including its cinema arm, theme parks and several hotel projects. Chicago’s Vista Tower and its Beverly Hills hotel and residential project, which total close to $2.1 billion, are Wanda’s latest projects up for sale since last week. Earlier this month, developer Greenland USA, a subsidiary of the Shanghai-based property development firm Greenland Group, put Los Angeles' Hotel Indigo on the market for $280 million, or $800,000 per key. If the target price is reached, the deal would set a new record price on a per-room basis for a downtown Los Angeles hotel.