< PrevNext > Wu Xiaohui, Anbang Insurance Group chairman The Marriott Meddler By Julie Sickel / December 20, 2016 / Contact Reporter Share Before March, few in the U.S. hotel industry had paid much attention to Wu Xiaohui's insurance company. Until then, Beijing-based Anbang's most notable deal was its 2015 purchase of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel from Hilton Worldwide for $1.95 billion, the most ever paid for a U.S. hotel. Still, given the volume of foreign investment in the industry in recent years, the deal wasn't too out of the ordinary. On March 12, 2016, however, Reuters reported that Anbang would acquire Strategic Hotels & Resorts for $6.5 billion from Blackstone.Meanwhile, Marriott International had agreed in November 2015 to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts for a record $12.2 billion. Two days after Anbang's Strategic Hotels move, though, news broke that a Chinese consortium led by Anbang had offered $13.2 billion cash for Starwood. Starwood accepted Anbang's bid, Marriott won Starwood back with a $13.6 billion offer, and on March 28, Anbang upped the ante again with $14 billion cash. Days later, however, Anbang pulled its bid, leaving the Marriott-Starwood transaction to proceed at $13.6 billion, significantly more than the original agreement.Anbang's sudden appearance on the U.S. hotel scene and its just-as-sudden exit from the Starwood bidding war led to speculation about Anbang's opaque ownership structure and the obstacles it faces from Chinese regulators. That speculation continues as Anbang has let its planned merger with Fidelity & Guaranty Life tarry for more than a year, even as it moves to acquire a majority stake in British Columbia retirement home chain Retirement Concepts. Anbang's problems may persist, as China reportedly is preparing new restrictions on outbound foreign investment in an effort to constrain capital outflows.As for the Strategic Hotels acquisition, Anbang completed the transaction in September, buying 15 of the 16 hotels in the portfolio. Blackstone ended its plan to sell the final property, San Diego's iconic Hotel del Coronado, following objections from U.S. national security officials concerned with the hotel's proximity to a U.S. naval base.