China Vanke, a Shenzhen-based property developer and the mainland’s largest by sales, signed a memorandum of understanding with Shenzhen Metro to acquire a stake in the state-owned urban transit company for up to 60 billion yuan ($9.3 billion). The deal, if completed, would also likely help Vanke in its battle for control with its largest shareholder, Baoneng Group — a little-known Chinese insurance company that bought over 20 percent stake in Vanke from July to December.
The preliminary accord was unveiled Sunday, as a part of Vanke’s filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, according to media reports. Vanke would fund its stake purchase by selling new shares to Shenzhen Metro and will cover any shortfall in cash, the Financial Times reported.
While the size of Vanke’s share sale and stake purchase in Shenzhen Metro has not been announced, the deal, if fully subscribed, would give the urban transit company about 20 percent stake in the property developer, including the newly issued shares, according to Reuters. Vanke would acquire Shenzhen Metro’s property projects, mostly land above underground metro stations.
The newly issued shares would also dilute Baoneng’s stake, in percentage terms, and Shenzhen Metro would become Vanke’s largest shareholder. Baoneng displaced state-owned China Resources Co. as Vanke’s largest shareholder in December, prompting Vanke management to label the move a hostile takeover. On December 18, Vanke suspended the trading of its shares on the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges, according to Global Times.
Trading of Vanke shares in Hong Kong resumed in January but still remains suspended in Shenzhen. The Sunday filing also announced a 15 percent increase in profits and 34 percent rise in revenues, and Vanke shares in Hong Kong were trading about 12 percent higher on Monday afternoon.