Billionaire Wang Jianlin's Wanda Group sells Chicago tower as it continues to trim multibillion-dollar debt

By Pearl Liu pearl.liu@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3095322/billionaire-wang-jianlins-wanda-group-sells-chicago-tower-it?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp&utm_content=3095322 | August 5, 2020 10:04 AM SGT
Dalian Wanda Group, controlled by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, is selling another overseas asset to pare its multibillion-dollar debtload.
Its Hong Kong-listed unit Wanda Hotel Development has agreed to sell its 90 per cent stake in the 101-storey Vista Tower for US$270 million to Chicago-based real estate company Magellan Parcel, according to a stock exchange filing on Thursday.
The sale will generate a net gain of HK$94 million (US$12.1 million), it added, and hand Magellan Parcel full ownership of the luxury residential-cum-hotel currently under construction in Chicago.
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Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group. photo: Los Angeles Times via TNS alt=Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group. photo: Los Angeles Times via TNS
Wanda Group had total debts of nearly 20 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion) at the end of March, including 12 billion yuan in short-term nature, according to the latest report by local rating agency, China Chengxin International Credit Rating.
Meanwhile its flagship unit, Dalian Wanda Commercial Management Group, which manages core assets including hotels, shopping malls and other properties, had total debts of 297.9 billion yuan as of end of 2019, more than four times its cash and cash equivalents, according to the company's filing in April this year.
Shares of Wanda Hotel Development surged as much as 88 per cent to HK$0.50 on Thursday after trading resumed following a three-day suspension pending the announcement.
The sale is the property-to-entertainment conglomerate's latest move to offload its assets after being placed on a watch list by Chinese regulators in April 2017. In the previous few years, Wanda had made highly leveraged acquisitions around the world including snapping up assets from Hollywood studios, luxury hotels and high-profile buildings in the US to European football clubs.
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In March, Wanda Sports Group sold its Ironman triathlon business, which it bought in 2015, for US$730 million. In 2018, Wang's entity sold a London luxury development project for £59 million (US$81.5 million) and some prized assets in Australia for a total of AS$2 billion.
In addition, it has shed a partial stake in AMC Entertainment, the biggest cinema chain in the US, and Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.
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