China's Wanda Retreats from Theme Park Business With $9.3 Billion Deal

Dalian Wanda to Sell $9.3 Billion in Hotels and Tourism Stakes

Dalian Wanda to Sell $9.3 Billion in Hotels and Tourism Stakes

Under the terms of the deal with Sunac, Wanda is selling a 91 percent stake in almost all of its current and planned tourism projects, including three recently launched theme parks, and 72 of its 102 hotels in China.

The developer had closed 6.9 percent lower on Friday.

The sale - the second-biggest real estate deal ever in China according to Reuters data -comes less than a month after China's Banking Regulatory Commission ordered a thorough review of the billions of dollars in loans that the country's state-owned banks had extended to Wanda and three other high-profile Chinese business groups that have spent heavily on foreign acquisitions in recent years. The CEO of Sunac, Sun Hongbin, said he's seeking ways to expand beyond property into areas from healthcare to finance.

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The Chinese group, with businesses spanning real estate, films, sports and entertainment, had plans to build at least 20 such cultural projects around China. "Wanda Commercial plans to repay most of the bank loans this year", Wang told Caixin.

Sunac China is a major residential developer based in the northern city of Tianjin.

Sunac's 15 acquisitions since the start of a year ago included a deal with technology company Legend Holdings Corp (聯想控股) that spanned 42 property projects across 16 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou, Bloomberg data showed. Wanda will use all proceeds from the deal to pay back loans, according to the report, which also cited an interview with Wanda's Wang.

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The transaction is to allow Sunac and Wanda to "fully play" to their advantages, the statement said.

Wanda Hotel Development Co. surged as much as 155 percent in Hong Kong trading before paring most of those gains after a representative said the deal has no direct impact on the Hong Kong-listed company.

Wanda moved into entertainment from property development in 2006, buying movie theaters and theme parks, but recently adopted an "asset-light" philosophy to prepare to relist its commercial property business. It has also been very active globally, buying USA cinema chain operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc and taking a controlling stake in US film studio Legendary Entertainment a year ago.

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