Anbang’s Wu Cancels Appearance at NYC Real Estate Conference

  • Executive was called away on business, NAREIT spokesman says
  • Wu had been scheduled to speak on panel at NYC Waldorf Astoria

Anbang Insurance Group Co.’s Wu Xiaohui canceled a speaking engagement at the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts’ annual conference being held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York this week.

Wu, who was scheduled to speak during lunch on Tuesday, sent his regrets on June 3, saying he was called away with other business, Ron Kuykendall, a spokesman for NAREIT, said in an e-mail. A representative for Anbang in New York said he couldn’t immediately comment.

The Beijing-based company, one of China’s most prominent overseas buyers of real estate, has kept a low public profile since abruptly pulling a $14 billion takeover offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in March. More recently, the insurer withdrew its application to the New York Department of Financial Services to acquire Fidelity & Guaranty Life, which it agreed to buy for $1.6 billion in November. It plans to refile "in the near future," according to a regulatory filing dated May 31.

Anbang has come under scrutiny by regulators in China, which planned to boost oversight, people familiar with the matter said in May. A press official for the company said at the time that it hasn’t been notified of any inspection.

Anbang, which owns the Waldorf Astoria, is in contract to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. from Blackstone Group LP in a deal valued at about $6.5 billion. Jon Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate, said Monday that he expects the deal to be completed. Strategic owns luxury resorts across the U.S. including the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay in California and Manhattan’s Essex House.

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