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July 23, 2016

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Wanda to sell Madrid building

CHINA’S property giant Wanda, owned by the country’s richest man Wang Jianlin, has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell a historic Madrid skyscraper to a Spanish developer for 272 million euros (US$300 million), the company said yesterday.

Wanda plans to sell all shares of Wanda Madrid Development, which holds the 25-story Edificio Espana, to Spain’s property developer Baraka Global Investment, its listed arm Wanda Hotel Development Co said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday.

Baraka has put down 1 million euros as earnest money, and the deal is expected to be executed by October 15, the statement said.

Wanda bought the historic Madrid landmark, completed in the 1950s under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, in June 2014 for 265 million euros, but its plans to develop the property into a hotel and shopping center have been met with hurdles from the local government.

Madrid’s new anti-austerity Mayor Manuela Carmena has put investors on edge by vowing to sternly scrutinize big building projects approved by the former conservative council.

Spanish reports said city authorities refused to let Wanda demolish the building’s facade before reconstructing it.

Wanda has been on a high-profile overseas acquisition spree in recent years, including the US$3.5 billion purchase of Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment in January.

Wang has also bought the organizer of Ironman extreme endurance contests, Swiss sports marketing group Infront, and a stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

It burst into the international spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for US$2.6 billion.

Wanda also owns more than 200 malls, shopping complexes and luxury hotels across China.


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