South China Morning Post. “If it fails, we would sell the building and never invest again,” Wang told China Central Television in May, while negotiations with the new mayor of Madrid were ongoing. Dalian Wanda has now shifted its investment focus to France. In February, Wanda teamed up with French retail giant Auchan Group and planned to jointly invest more than €3 billion in EuropaCity, a retail and leisure project to be built on the outskirts of Paris by 2024, the Post said. The 760,000 square meter project would be the largest single investment project in Europe to-date, featuring an indoor and outdoor theme park, a large stage show, hotels, a business center and a conference center. Plaza de España is a large square, and popular tourist destination, located in central Madrid, Spain, at the western end of the Gran Vía. In the center of the plaza is a monument to Spanish novelist, poet and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The tower portion of the monument includes a stone sculpture of Cervantes, which overlooks bronze sculptures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Adjacent to the plaza are two of the tallest buildings in Madrid, Torre de Madrid, built in 1957, and Edificio España, built in 1953. The Edificio España, designed by architect Julián Otamendi and his brother, is the 14th tallest building in Madrid, and one of the city’s most iconic buildings. It is an example of 20th-century Spanish architecture built in the neo-baroque style, and was a symbol of prosperity during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. It was the tallest building in Spain and Europe, with 25 floors and a height of 117 m (384 ft), until overtaken by the Torre de Madrid (also built by Otamendi) in 1957.
“I fell in love with the Edificio España on my first trip to Madrid. It has always struck me as a sentinel barricaded before the city,” once wrote journalist and novelist Juan Soto Ivars, for El Confidencial. “The whole history of this building has been tracing the history of Spain. It was built as a final signature to the Gran Via, a pharaonic project that included three political regimes and a war. It would house a luxury hotel for international dignitaries becoming the icon of the end of the autarky. Its Crowne Plaza Hotel gave shelter to all kinds of characters worthy of a spy movie.”Wanda acquired the Edificio España in June 2014 for 265 million euros (now $292 million) and wanted to turn it into a hotel and shopping center. The building stood empty since 2006 — a symbol of the 2008 real estate collapse that thrust Spain into a damaging economic crisis, Agence France-Presse reported. The group had reportedly planned to knock down the façade, re-model the interior and build it again with the same materials. But Madrid’s town hall insisted that the original façades of the historic landmark building be preserved, eventually prompting Wanda to get rid of the skyscraper. Dalian Wanda Group was founded in 1988 and is engaged in three key business activities – commercial properties, culture, and finance. In 2015, its assets amounted to 634 billion yuan with revenue of 290.16 billion yuan. Wanda Commercial Properties is the world’s largest real estate enterprise and the biggest five-star hotel owner in the world. Wanda Cultural Industry Group, meanwhile, is the largest cultural enterprise in China, and the world’s largest cinema operator. It is also the world’s biggest sports company. Elsewhere, Wanda Financial Group is the largest internet finance enterprise in China. By 2020, Wanda Group aims to become a world class multinational corporation with assets of $200 billion, market capitalization of $200 billion, revenue of $100 billion and net profits of $10 billion. Wanda’s chairman Wang Jianlin, with a fortune worth $32.7 billion, is the first mainland Chinese billionaire ranked within the Top 20 of Forbes Billionaires List. Wang, who hails from a poor background in inland Sichuan Province, is also said to be Asia’s richest man. Wanda has been on a high-profile overseas acquisition spree in recent years, such as the $3.5-billion purchase of Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment in January. The group has also bought the organizer of Ironman extreme endurance contests, Swiss sports marketing group Infront, and a stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid, which reached the Champions League final this year. It burst into the international spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion. Wang’s group also owns more than 200 malls, shopping complexes and luxury hotels across China. However, the company said it is transiting from a real estate company to a “global sports, entertainment and tourism giant.” Last week, Dalian Wanda‘s AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC), agreed to acquire London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, the largest theatre exhibitor in Europe, from private equity firm Terra Firma, in a deal valued at £921 million.]]>
Martin Gruschka‘s growing Swiss private equity firm Springwater Capital agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Pullmantur and Croisières de France (CDF) from Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). As part of the deal, Springwater and RCL are forming a joint venture to bring best-in-class cruise experiences tailored to Spanish and French tourists through the Pullmantur and CDF cruise brands. RCL will keep a 49% stake, and retain full ownership of the ships and planes currently operated by Pullmantur and CDF, which will be leased into the joint venture. RCL will also provide marine operations services to Pullmantur and CDF through a management agreement. The joint venture expands on a pre-existing partnership between RCL and Springwater for Wamos, the air transport, travel agency, and tour operation businesses previously known as Pullmantur Air, Pullmantour Circuitos Turísticos, City Tours, Tour Operación, and Nautalia Viajes. Springwater Capital acquired control of the group in September 2014, with RCL retaining a minority stake in Nautalia Viajes and Pullmantur Air. The investment also expands Springwater’s existing tourism portfolio, which includes airline and travel agency investments in Spain, France and Portugal. “Pullmantur and CDF have a long history of offering authentic, localized cruise vacations to their home markets,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean. “We look forward to the new focus that this joint venture with Springwater will bring to these companies as they seek to grow.” “We are delighted to announce the joint venture with Royal Caribbean, and look forward to working with Pullmantur and CDF employees,’ said Martin Gruschka, founding partner, chairman and CEO of Springwater. “The transaction leverages our firm’s travel sector expertise, and will take advantage of Pullmantur and CDF’s strong client and travel industry relationships in the Spanish and French markets. These relationships – paired with Royal Caribbean’s cruise management – will create the foundation for a successful, long-term strategic partnership.” The joint venture is expected to be completed later this year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. It is expected to result in an immaterial one-time gain, which will be excluded from RCL’s key metrics. Pullmantur Cruises (Cruceros Pullmantur), headquartered in Madrid, is the largest Spain-based cruise line. It began operations in the late 1990s as an offshoot of the Madrid-based travel agency Pullmantur. Pullmantur Cruises, through its parent company, was purchased by Royal Caribbean Cruises in 2006. Following the acquisition by Royal Caribbean several transfers were carried out between the Pullmantur fleet and those of other Royal Caribbean brands. CDF Croisières de France is a subsidiary of Pullmantur Cruises, catering to the French cruise market, with French as the primary language used on board. It was founded in September 2007 as a subsidiary of RCL. [caption id="attachment_431814" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Pullmantur Cruceros. Breezes of the Med, Mare Nostrum Magic on a Cruise[/caption] Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises (a brand aimed at a German-speaking audience) through a 50 percent joint venture with Germany’s TUI AG. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 46 ships with an additional ten on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents. The company was founded in 1997 when Royal Caribbean international, founded in 1968, merged with Celebrity Cruises, founded in 1988. RCL is the world’s second-largest cruise line operator, after Carnival Corporation & plc. As of May 12, 2016 RCL had a market capitalization of $16.3 billion. Springwater Capital LLC is an independent private investment firm founded in 2002. The company invests in different sectors throughout Europe always working closely with its portfolio companies’ management in order to achieve long-term sustainable returns. The secretive firm specializes in reorganization, restructuring, acquisition, special situations, and special opportunities transactions like turnaround and distressed investments. The firm seeks to invest in the media, real estate and entertainment sector, preferably in Europe. Springwater makes non-operational control investments. A control position is not needed in case of special opportunity investments, but an influential role is required in order to actively co-drive the restructuring process. It typically invests in debt and equity. Springwater Capital was founded in 2002 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland with additional offices in London, UK; Luxembourg; Madrid, Spain; and New York, N.Y. The firm has performed over 30 acquisitions and its current portfolio includes more than 20 platform companies with about €3bn in sales. In Spain Springwater has invested in companies such as Wamos, Aernnova, Delion, Daorje, Nervión Industries (Monesa), Fivemasa, Ceyde, Think Textil, Imtech, Peggy Sue’s or SGEL. In the tourism sector, Springwater has presence through affiliated companies in several countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and selected locations in Africa. Springwater does not seek to know the operational aspects of its portfolio companies in depth, it says, and presumably it does not need to know. The firm manages the numbers, strategies and human resources of its portfolio companies in five major areas as diverse as renewable energy, engineering, tourism, engineering, and business processes and outsourcing. Springwater’s founder and brash private equity dealmaker Martin Gruschka seems to have an eye for this line of business.
“Sometimes it’s an advantage not know the business, because you neither know the vices nor the processes,” Gruschka recently told Spain’s Economia Digital. “Although it isn’t always the best solution, it’s not necessarily bad for a fresh person to come in, who doesn’t know the sector.”Photo: Martin Gruschka, Founding Partner, Chairman and CEO of Springwater Capital LLC.]]>
Photo (L to R): Mitula Group’s Co-Founders, Gonzalo del Pozo (CEO and Executive Director), Gonzalo Ortiz (Non-Executive Director), and Marcelo Badimón (COO).]]>