China: Anbang Insurance Group is reportedly considering a bid to acquire InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), the owner of the Staybridge Suites brand.
Anbang, which failed in its bid to derail the Marriott/Starwood
merger by bidding for Starwood earlier this year, has now turned
its attentions to IHG, according to a Sunday Times report.
The newspaper reported that Anbang is "weighing up an audacious £7 billion (US$91.bn) swoop" on IHG. If accurate, the sum would be considerably less than the US$14 billion Anbang offered for Starwood, despite Starwood operating a much smaller portfolio than IHG.
At the end of June 2016, IHG operated a total portfolio of 5,070 properties, with 749,721 rooms. It also has a pipeline of 1,407 hotels comprising 222,233 rooms. Its Staybridge Suites extended stay brand has properties across the UK and US. IHG also owns the Candlewood Suites brand in the US.
The Sunday Times reported that Anbang is yet to make a formal approach for IHG, but quoted "city insiders" as saying that "exploratory" discussions between the two companies have been underway since June.
IHG is also believed to have made enquiries about Starwood last year, prior to Marriott's initial bid in November 2015. The company completed the US$430 million purchase of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2014.
London-listed IHG is reported to have rejected a bid from US hospitality giant Wyndham Worldwide in 2014, and the Sunday Times suggests that any offer from Anbang could spark renewed interest from Wyndham.
Back in November 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that three other Chinese suitor were eyeing IHG in the wake of the Marriott/Starwood announcement - Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Group, the airlines owner HNA Group, and the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp.
In March this year, IHG chief executive Richard Solomons said the group was not concerned about being a takeover target: "If somebody comes along and wants to make a bid, the board will look at it. We're certainly not seeking it but as a public company that's the world you live in. We could grow faster, but we won't compromise quality. It's not about a dash for growth."