Anbang Insurance Group Co., the Chinese insurer that bought New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel last year, is bidding for the Heron Tower in the City of London, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
It will be Anbang’s first acquisition in the U.K. if the Beijing-based company emerges as the winner of the 46-story building, one of the tallest in London’s financial district, said the person, who asked not to be named as the bidding is private.
Anbang Chairman and Chief Executive Wu Xiaohui is speeding up an overseas buying spree since last year that has included its $1.95 billion purchase of Waldorf Astoria and financial companies including Belgian insurer Fidea NV and South Korea’s Tongyang Life Insurance Co. Chinese insurers spent an estimated $15 billion on overseas properties in 2014, almost triple the amount two years earlier, according to Knight Frank LLP, after regulators loosened investment rules.
A group of investors led by China Life Insurance Co., the nation’s biggest insurer, bought a tower in London’s Canary Wharf for 795 million pounds ($1.2 billion) in June last year. Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., the second largest, bought the Lloyd’s of London building in 2013 and Tower Place in the English capital in January.
The Heron Tower, whose owners include the State General Reserve of Oman Fund and members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, is now officially called 110 Bishopsgate.
— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang