Hong Kong-based Junson Capital, a private equity real estate investment firm controlled by Longfor Properties co-founder Cai Kui is buying a portfolio of US hotels from MassMutual’s Barings subsidiary for as much as $800 million, according to media reports.
Barings’ sale of The Motif Seattle hotel has already been registered with authorities in Washington’s largest city, with US real estate media outlet The Registry reporting that Junson Capital had purchased the 319 room luxury hotel for $145 million.
That Seattle acquisition is part of a set of seven to eight boutique hotels and resorts that Junson is buying from the investment subsidiary of the US financial services giant, according to a Bloomberg account citing a person with knowledge of the matter.
Cai Poised To Build Overseas Hotel Holdings
Cai, China’s 38th richest man with an estimated net worth of $5.6 billion, earned his fortune after co-founding Longfor with his then-wife Wu Yajun in the central Chinese city Chongqing in 1993. Cai divorced Wu in 2012, receiving a 30 percent stake in the Hong Kong-listed property firm from Wu as part of the divorce agreement. In the process, Wu’s net worth dropped $2 billion, knocking her from the top perch as China’s richest woman.
The potential deal wouldn’t be the first offshore hotel acquisition for Cai’s Junson. The company, which has a significant presence in Shanghai, in addition to its base in Hong Kong bought The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, a 378-room hotel in London for a reported £80 million in August 2016. The deal marked the first major foreign acquisition in the British hotel industry since the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June of that year, according to property brokerage Colliers International.
In the past three years, Junson has been building a real estate investment team in Shanghai and Hong Kong, including bringing on board former PAG executive Bingdong Zhao as a managing director in 2015. Two years ago Cai’s firm added former Tishman Speyer China CFO Yong Shen as its CFO and also hired former Starwood Hotels and Resorts M&A specialist Victor Tchou to become its director of asset management.