Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin liked his Sunseeker yacht so much that today he bought the company.
The chairman’s rapidly growing Dalian Wanda conglomerate bought the Poole-based luxury boatbuilder for £320 million, adding to his empire’s headline-grabbing acquisition spree. Last year that included the biggest Chinese takeover of an American business — the AMC cinema chain — for $2.6 billion (£1.66 billion).
The Sunseeker deal will see golfer Rory McIlroy pocket about €2 million (£1.7 million) thanks to his stake in the business through Irish private equity group FL Partners. FL is said to have made a 10-fold return on its Sunseeker takeover in 2010. It also brought in other millionaires such as Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter on the deal.
Wang said: “China’s consumption is growing, especially the market for high-end luxury products. We have noticed the growth in consumption of luxury yachts, also private planes — the growth is exponential.”
Sunseeker, famed for its celebrity clientele, including James Bond, will continue to operate out of Poole and is expected to expand its 2,300-strong workforce there under its new owners, in a similar way to Volvo cars, which was rescued by a takeover by China’s Geely in 2010.