The Real Deal New York

Starwood mystified by Anbang withdrawal: report

Chinese insurer ended bid without explanation
By Konrad Putzier | April 01, 2016 11:37AM

From left: The W Hotel Union Square in Manhattan and Anbang's CEO Wu Xiaohui

From left: The W Hotel Union Square in Manhattan and Anbang’s CEO Wu Xiaohui

Wu Xiaohui could have at least taken Thomas Mangas out for dinner: Anbang Insurance Group reportedly withdrew its $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts by email and without explanation Thursday

The move caught Starwood by surprise because Anbang had already moved the money to buy the hotel company out of China and agreed to pay a large termination fee should Chinese regulators block the deal, according to an anonymous source cited by Bloomberg.

“It’s quite a surprise that they withdrew the offer,” Sigrid Zialcita, managing director of Asia-Pacific research at Cushman & Wakefield, told the news site. “They bit off more than they can chew.”

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Anbang, known for its opaque ownership and aggressive expansion over the past two years, launched a bidding war for Starwood with an unsolicited $13.2 billion offer two weeks ago. Marriott had agreed to buy the rival hotel company last year, but the deal hasn’t closed yet.

Starwood accepted Anbang’s offer, but last week Marriott responded with a new bid worth $13.6 billion. On Monday, Anbang again raised its offer, this time to $14 billion, before withdrawing its bid Thursday.  [Bloomberg]Konrad Putzier