GIC, Blackstone among final bidders for Anbang's portfolio of 15 hotels, FT says

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and Blackstone Group were among bidders for a portfolio of 15 hotels owned by Anbang Insurance Group Co., the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

Anbang, under temporary control of Chinese government regulators, received offers of as much as US$5.8 billion, the paper said. Other potential buyers to reach the final round included Brookfield Asset Management Inc, South Korea's Mirae Asset Management and Fortress Investment Group, owned by Japan's Softbank Group, the FT said.

Anbang hired Bank of America to sell the hotels, which include Westin St Francis in San Francisco, the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the Fairmont in Chicago, the JW Marriott Essex House in New York and the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Anbang initially agreed to acquire Strategic Hotels from Blackstone in 2016 for about US$6.5 billion, about US$450 million more than the New York firm paid just three months earlier. Anbang ended up paying about US$1 billion less, or about US$5.5 billion, after US national security officials opposed the sale of the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego - due to concerns regarding its proximity to a US naval base.

Anbang, whose former chairman was sentenced to prison for fraud, has been accelerating efforts to sell assets and deleverage, including offloading China's Hexie Health Insurance Co and Belgian insurer Fidea, Bloomberg has reported.