Could Anbang Insurance be pursuing a billion dollar deal that does not involve Blackstone? The mainland institution which has bought up over $11 billion in assets from the US private equity giant could be tying up with new partners after details emerged of Anbang pursuing a C$1 billion ($744 million) stake in one of British Columbia’s biggest retirement home operators, according to the The Globe and Mail.
The deal would give Anbang a majority stake in Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts. The retirement home owner and operator has 24 retirement communities in British Colombia, Calgary and Montreal as well as unused or partly developed land that could allow a major expansion of facilities in the future.
Canada’s Investment Review Division is currently reviewing the deal because it exceeds the C$600 million ($446 million) threshold. It seems unlikely the Canadian government will veto the transaction, as the provincial authorities already endorsed the transaction following a conversation between Anbang and British Columbia’s Ministry of Health.
“Under the partnership agreement, Retirement Concepts will retain a minority share and will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of all of our seniors’ communities,” said Azim Jamal, president and chief executive of Retirement Concepts.
November Is Retirement Home Season
Anbang’s latest Canadian deal fits into a spate of health care real estate investments globally, with mainland firms moving to the forefront of the trend. Including the Anbang acquisition, Chinese investors have bought more than $2.6 billion in health care portfolios across North America and the UK in the past two months.
Cindat Capital Management, the private equity affiliate of one of China’s big four “bad banks”, kicked things off at the start of November acquiring a portfolio of senior housing and long-term/post-acute care facilities from Welltower for $930 million. The firm teamed up with Chinese institution Union Life Insurance to purchase 11 senior housing properties and 28 long-term/post-acute care facilities.
Anbang’s rival Taikang Life Insurance joined the fray next, entering into an agreement with US-based NorthStar Realty Finance to buy a 19 percent stake in its health care portfolio for $1 billion.
Anbang Returns to the Great White North
The mainland insurer’s purchase of a 17-storey tower in Toronto’s financial district from Brookfield Asset Management for C$110 million ($84.2 million) last year was believed to be first major investment in a stabilized real estate asset in Canada by a Chinese investor. Since then Anbang has returned to the country several times to scoop up other office assets.
Earlier this month, the firm was said to be in talks to purchase a 30-storey office and retail tower in downtown Toronto for C$530 million ($395 million). Development and investment firm Canderel and pension-fund manager OPTrust currently owns the 84,960 square meter building.
Should Anbang complete its deal for Retirement Concepts, it would be a second major Vancouver acquisition for the firm this year. In February, the insurance giant purchased a 66 percent stake in a vehicle that owns all four office towers at Bentall Centre.