The Chinese investment group Anbang first gained notoriety when they got into a bidding war with Marriott for Starwood Hotels, with which Marriott had a tentative agreement to merge. While Anbang lost the bidding war and the Marriott/Starwood deal did go through, Anbang seems to have decided that they are going to try their luck at buying up hotels again.
Per the British Newspaper The Sunday Times, unamed sources have stated that Anbang is looking to buy up IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group), the parent company of Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza, among others.
Anbang has denied the report, saying that they aren’t even considering a big for IHG. However, some of speculated that this is because they don’t want competition for their bid from other investment groups or some hotel chain. Of course, I’d hate to see IHG get bought by another hotel company and disappear, as IHG is a really awesome brand with an excellent rewards program (more on how we used IHG points to build an awesome vacation coming up later today). So, I suppose it might be better if Anbang bought IHG than if another hotel group did, as we would see much more material change (i.e. IHG’s awesome loyalty Priority Club being merged into some inferior loyalty program) if IHG got merged with another chain than if they just got bought by an investment group.
Of course, we don’t know if any of this is actually happening, so we’ll just have to see what comes of this story, if anything, over the coming weeks and months…