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Chinese billionaire buys 007 UK yacht maker

(Shanghai Daily)

10:42, June 21, 2013

A Sunseeker Superhawk 34 sped down London's River Thames at over 60 mph in the longest-ever Bond pre-title sequence in The World is Not Enough. ( / File photo)

Chinese commercial real estate developer Dalian Wanda Group will invest 1.02 billion pounds (US$1.6 billion) in a British luxury yacht maker, whose vessels have appeared in several James Bond movies, and an upscale London property.

Wanda, controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, will pay 320 million pounds for 91.8 percent of yacht maker Sunseeker International Ltd and invest 700 million pounds in a property project overlooking London's River Thames.

With a total gross floor area of 105,000 square meters, Wanda's real estate project in London will include a 160-room luxury hotel as well as two 200-meter-tall apartment towers. The twin buildings will become the tallest residential towers in London on completion, according to the company.

"The world's luxury hotel market has been occupied by foreign brands, and there have been no Chinese five-star hotels overseas," Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin said in a statement.

"Wanda has decided to be the pioneer and change this situation," he said, adding that the company plans to build hotels of its own brand in eight to 10 "major cities throughout the world" within the next decade.

The acquisition of Britain's largest luxury yacht maker by sales has received regulatory approval from China's National Development and Reform Commission, Wanda said, adding that it expected the deal to close in mid-August. The remaining 8.2 percent of Sunseeker will be bought by the yacht maker's management.

Set up in the 1970s, Sunseeker employs about 2,300 people in and around Poole on the south coast of England. Following the acquisition, the company would retain the base and existing workforce, Wanda said.

Prices for its luxury boats start at 400,000 pounds and its new top of the range 155 Yacht costs 20 million pounds.

Sunseeker is currently majority-owned by Irish private equity company FL Partners and has cushioned itself against the global downturn by expanding in Latin America, Russia and Asia.

Wang was ranked the second-richest person on the Chinese mainland with 54 billion yuan (US$8.8 billion) in personal assets in the 2013 New Fortune 500 Rich List released last month.

Wanda last year became the world's biggest owner of movie theaters after acquiring AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, the second-largest cinema chain in the US, for US$2.6 billion.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Ye Xin)

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