Asia-Pacific News

China's Dalian Wanda drops plans to buy Nine Elms Square in London

Key Points
  • Dalian Wanda Group has backed down from a bid to buy Nine Elms Square in London.
  • It marks the latest setback for the Chinese conglomerate as Beijing tightens controls on overseas investment.
Wanda Plaza in Tongzhou, China.
Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

Dalian Wanda Group said on Tuesday it had scrapped plans to buy Nine Elms Square in London, the latest setback for the Chinese conglomerate as Beijing tightens controls on overseas investment.

St. Modwen Properties, owner of the London building, said on Monday it had completed the 470 million pound ($605.6 million) sale, without naming the buyer. It said in a June filing it had exchanged contracts with Wanda Commercial Properties (Hong Kong).

Wanda's International Real Estate Center said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday that ownership of the 10-acre (4-hectare) Nine Elms belonged to a third party.

It is unclear who the buyer is at this stage. A sale of Nine Elms was first mooted in 2013.

China's cabinet on Friday reiterated it would limit overseas investment in property, hotels, entertainment, sports clubs and the film industry, and planned to maintain a blacklist of domestic firms that violated overseas investment rules.

Moody downgrades Wanda after retreating from theme parks in China

Chinese banks have been told to stop providing funding for several of Wanda's overseas acquisitions in order to curb its appetite for offshore deals, according to sources familiar with the matter.

China launched a clampdown on capital outflows and overseas direct investment last year, and Wanda, a property-to-entertainment giant run by one of China's richest men, Wang Jianlin, has been one of the companies most affected.

In March, Wanda's proposed $1 billion purchase of U.S. TV production company Dick Clark Productions collapsed under the heightened pressure from Beijing on outbound deals.

Squeezed for finance, Wanda in July agreed to sell 77 hotels to Chinese developer Guangzhou R&F Properties Co for 19.9 billion yuan ($2.99 billion) and 91 percent equity in 13 tourism projects to Sunac China for 43.8 billion yuan.