Chinese Real estate giant Dalian Wanda Group is reportedly selling its theme parks to fellow real-estate developer Sunac China for $9.3 billion or 63.2 billion yuan.
Wanda said it would offload 91 percent of thirteen cultural tourism projects, which include theme parks and leisure complexes, and 76 hotels to the Sunac.
The deal includes $4.4 billion worth of tourism projects located across China, including in the cities of Qingdao, Guangzhou, Harbin, Chengdu, Kunming and Guilin. Sunac will also receive 76 hotels located in cities such as Beijing and Wuhan for $4.9 billion.
In an interview with Chinese business news outlet Caixin, chairman Wang said the disposal of theme parks and hotels would help his company operate on an asset-light basis and develop a business model that relied on software and branding.
“Wanda Commercial is not shouldering a lot of debts, but through this asset transfer [with Sunac], the company’s debt ratio will be greatly reduced,” Wang told Caixin. “The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off loans. Wanda Commercial will pay off all bank loans by the end of this year.”
Still, the sell-off of Wanda’s theme parks represents a significant comedown for Wang, who last year boasted that a “wolf pack” of Wanda parks would overtake Shanghai Disney, which he suggested was overpriced. Last August, Wanda signed a $9.3-billion co-development deal to build a sports-themed park in the city of Jinan, to include a 10,000-seat stadium, a mall, hotels, and other facilities. But cracks appeared in Wanda’s ambitions when the company temporarily closed its indoor theme park in Wuhan after less than two years of operation.