Chinese company Dalian Wanda buys UK yacht maker Sunseeker
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 19 June 2013
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.
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