Anbang, Owner of Waldorf Astoria New York, Seized by Chinese Government

Feb 23, 2018

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Anbang purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York from Hilton in 2014 in a noteworthy deal. Now, the Chinese insurance giant has been seized by the Chinese government, and the company’s former chairman has been charged with “economic crimes.”

Over the last few years, the Beijing-based holding company made a series of high profile real estate purchases, including the acquisition of the properties like the Westin St. Francis and Fairmont Chicago. Anbang even attempted to purchase Starwood Hotels in 2016 but pulled out of the deal, leaving Marriott to purchase the hotel chain.

So now, the Chinese government technically “owns” the Waldorf Astoria New York. Anbang will be overseen by China’s central bank and a series of other government agencies for the next year.

Anbang paid nearly $2 billion for the legendary New York hotel, which has housed celebrities, presidents and other world leaders. The hotel has been closed since early 2017 for a project to turn 1400 rooms into apartments and refurbish other parts of the property.

The number of high dollar deals had the Chinese government worried, which lead to the takeover of Anbang on Friday. CNN reports that the Chinese government took control of Anbang because “illegal management and operation activities” were putting the business at risk. But, the authorities didn’t describe any details of the activities.

Anbang’s former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was indicted by Shanghai prosecutors for “fraudulent fund-raising and improperly taking company assets.” Anbang had been the subject of an investigation since June 2017.

H/T: The New York Times

Featured image courtesy of Gordon Bell / Shutterstock.com.

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