Skadden acts for Anbang in $13bn offer for Starwood

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has been instructed again by Chinese insurance group Anbang in its latest major bid for a hotel group in the US, offering $13bn (£9bn) to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

The bid made by a consortium led by Anbang challenges Marriott International’s planned takeover of Starwood, which was agreed in November last year with a value of $12.2bn.

Anbang has instructed Skadden as its legal adviser in the takeover bid. New York-based M&A partner Eileen Nugent, who is also the firm’s global co-head of transactions practices, led the firm’s team.

The firm has advised the Chinese insurer in previous US transactions, including its $1.95bn acquisition of Waldorf Astoria New York hotel from Hilton Worldwide Holdings in 2014.

Other investors in the consortium reportedly include J C Flowers and China’s Primavera Capital Group.

Starwood has retained Cravath Swaine & Moore as its legal counsel for the planned takeover by Marriott. The Cravath team is led by New York corporate partner Scott Barshay.

Marriott was represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher co-chair of the M&A practice group and Washington-based partner Stephen Glover.

Background to the deal

Anbang has been active in acquiring assets around the world in the past a few years. Another major investment by the group in the US real estate sector was its $1.95bn acquisition of Waldorf Astoria New York hotel from Hilton Worldwide Holdings in 2014. In that deal, it was also advised by Skadden with New York real estate partner Audrey Sokoloff leading.

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Greenberg Traurig also took a role advising Anbang in the same deal. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s real estate practice head Gregory Ressa and Dentons’ Phoenix-based hotel and leisure partner Meghan Cocci advised Hilton on the sale.

In the insurance sector, Anbang has also made a number of big-ticket acquisitions. In November 2015, the group purchased US insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life for $1.57bn. Anbang was advised by Debevoise & Plimpton and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, while Skadden acted for Fidelity & Guaranty.

In Europe, the group’s recent transactions include the €1.4bn takeover of Dutch insurer VIVAT from state-owned SNS Reaal. Anbang was advised by Allen & Overy while the seller was advised by Slaughters’ best friend De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.