Chinese group linked to US$2.1B hotel portfolio purchase

The unprecedented US$2.1-billion deal in the purchase of Canadian hotel portfolio InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust last week involved a prominent Chinese holding company, according to unnamed sources that allegedly had knowledge of the transaction.
 
As reported by Katia Dmitrieva and Scott Deveau of Bloomberg News, Li Chen—the president and CEO of Bluesky Hotels & Resorts, Inc. which acquired InnVest last week—has a connection with Anbang Insurance Group Co., a holding firm that had been purchasing various high-end properties in North America since early 2015.
 
“She has been employed by Anbang and acted on behalf of the Beijing-based insurer in prior deals in Canada, including one that was ongoing while the InnVest negotiations were taking place, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private,” the Bloomberg report stated.
 
Chen allegedly changed the entity she was representing from Anbang to Bluesky after the sellers objected to her initial request of leaving Anbang unnamed in the transaction, the anonymous sources said.
 
Bluesky officials remained mum about the alleged connections, and Chen herself remained unreachable as of press time.
 
Calls to crack down on foreign “shadow buyers” allegedly using proxies like shell companies to purchase Canadian real estate have intensified over the past few months, after various studies have pointed at a possible correlation between the influx of overseas capital in the Canadian housing sector and the near-unstoppable price growth in the country’s most overheated markets.

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