Chinese company acquires Sunseeker

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The Dalian Wanda Group Corp. Ltd. today announced that it will acquire a majority stake in U.K.-based yacht builder Sunseeker International Ltd.

The deal has a total investment value of 320 million pounds, or about $500 million dollars, and is expected to close in mid-August, the Wanda Group said in a statement.

Under the agreement, Wanda will acquire 91.91 percent, with the remaining 8.19 percent to be acquired by Sunseeker management.

Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin said in a statement that in light of the partnership, Sunseeker is “well placed to take full advantage of opportunities in China, one of the world’s fastest-growing luxury yacht markets. We are confident that this will bring Sunseeker’s business to the next level.”

Under Wanda ownership, Sunseeker will remain a British company, based in Poole, Dorset, and will maintain its existing production bases in the U.K., along with its current work force. Wanda said the existing management will remain on the Sunseeker boards and company founder Robert Braithwaite will continue to be involved in the management of the business, providing continuity for the new model program being developed in Poole.

Wanda also said today that the company reached an agreement with Green Property to develop a real estate project in central London that will include the company’s five-star luxury Wanda hotel, the first luxury hotel opened by a Chinese firm overseas, the company said.

These investments follow Wanda’s $2.6 billion acquisition of the U.S.-based AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. in 2012.

The announcements follow others from Eastern investors buying majority stakes in Western yacht-building companies.

In December, Italian yacht builder Wider announced that it was selling half its stake to EXA Ltd., a company that refers to Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and chief executive of the Malaysian-based Genting Group, Soundings Trade Only reported.

Last July, 321 Capital Partners LLC said it had sold Tennessee-based fiberglass sportboat builder Ebbtide Corp. to a privately held Chinese investment company.

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