Indian Developer DLF May Stall Acquisition Due To “Low Bids”
Last week, Jing Daily reported on the Chinese group HNA’s front-running status in negotiations to purchase the global luxury hotel resort chain Aman Resorts (Amanresorts). As we noted:
HNA put in an bid of around 24 billion rupees (US$452 million) to buy Aman Resorts outright, beating out its top competitor, the Malaysian government investment arm Khazanah. According to the Business Standard, Khazanah’s initial bid for the resort chain in June 2010 was US$300-350 million for a “controlling stake.”
The newspaper adds that additional bids for Aman Resorts recently received by India’s top real estate firm, DLF Group — which bought a 97 percent stake in the chain for US$400 million in 2007 — came from the luxury powerhouse LVMH Moët Hennessy (LVMH) and Kingdom Holdings, owner of the Four Seasons. The remaining three percent of the company remains owned by Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha. Considering DLF was hoping to make a sale at around US$473 million, HNA’s bid seems like a relative bargain, particularly if it buys the resort chain outright.
Today, Reuters reports that the sale has hit a snag, as owners DLF may now be saying they want to put talks on hold due to “lower-than-expected bids.” From the article, which holds that the shortlisted buyers put in bids between US$300 million-315 million — which conflicts with earlier reports that put that bid much higher:
A DLF spokesman in New Delhi denied the deal was on hold.
“We do not comment on market speculation during the course of negotiations with prospective bidders,” the spokesman said.
A spokesman for the diversified Sahara Group, which bought London’s Grosvenor House hotel from the Royal Bank of Scotland for 470 million pounds in 2010, said the group was in discussions for the luxury hotel chain a few months earlier.
“Probably from then no discussion is there and Sahara is not much interested in this proposal,” the spokesman said.
We’ll have to keep a close eye on this deal in the weeks ahead to see if it does indeed go through. As we pointed out last week, HNA is keen to get its hands on a portfolio of global properties, and a failure in negotiations on Aman Resorts is a setback the company certainly doesn’t want to come up against now.
UPDATE 2 (January 13, 2012): Reuters reports today that a HNA representative has confirmed that the company has dropped its bid for Aman Resorts. As the spokesman told Reuters in an emailed statement, “HNA Group indeed participated in the bidding. But we did not receive any feedback information for the bid result in the period of validity. HNA Group has given up on the project.”