Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria Isn't Up For Sale, Hilton CEO Says

By Dave Simpson
Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria Isn't Up For Sale, Hilton CEO Says

Ignore all the talk -- New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel isn’t for sale, according to the chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., which manages the property on behalf of owner Anbang Insurance Group Co.

While the Chinese insurer is believed to be selling assets around the world, “at the moment, the Waldorf is not one of those,” Christopher Nassetta said on Hilton’s earnings call Wednesday. Anbang has told Hilton it is plowing ahead with plans to convert hotel rooms into high-end condos, Nassetta said, adding that the interior of the Park Avenue landmark is under “heavy demolition.”

China’s government is clamping down on companies that have made lavish investments in recent years. Three years ago, Anbang bought the Waldorf from Hilton for $1.95 billion as part of a buying spree in which the insurer acquired tens of billions of dollars in trophy assets.

Last year, China asked Anbang to sell its overseas holdings, people with knowledge of the matter said, an account that Anbang and regulators disputed at the time. An Anbang representative reiterated on Monday that the company doesn’t have plans to sell its overseas assets.

Another large Chinese acquirer, HNA Group Co., is currently marketing a portfolio of U.S. properties valued at $4 billion. HNA is Hilton’s largest shareholder. The company has a year left on a lockup provision preventing a sale of Hilton shares.

News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland