According to Bloomberg, Fosun – owner of Club Med – is looking to expand its presence in North America through acquisitions.
In 2015, Fosun acquired full control for $1.3 billion after a protracted takeover battle against Andrea Bonomi. This new ownership has revived Club Med, whose fortunes were flagging. According to the conglomerate's annual reports, Club Med recorded its most winter season visitors in a decade last year.
Fosun has re-emerged from the Chinese government’s crackdown on capital flight in 2017. While HNA Group and Anbang Insurance have been scrambling to shed assets, the conglomerate has managed to continue its expansion, taking over companies such as Lanvin and Guide Investimentos.
A bigger presence in North America would complement Club Med and Fosun’s portfolios, which generates most of its revenue from Europe and Asia.
The tensions between China and the U.S. will, according to them, not affect demand for travel and vacations. “We take a long-term view when making an investment decision. If it is a good target, we will not hesitate,” said Qian Jiannong, Senior Vice President of Fosun International.
“We’re interested in anything related to the tourism sector, from travel agencies and resort brands to recreational content providers,” Qian Jiannong said in an interview in Qinhuangdao, where Club Med unveiled a new resorts named Joyview.
New product line for China
Unlike other Club Med resorts that are destination-driven, Joyview is a midscale brand targeting Chinese millennial travelers and multi-generational families. The new offering was tailored for vacationers who have shorter holidays.
“After I joined Club Med board in 2010, I suggested to them there needed to be a different product for the Chinese market,” Qian Jiannong said.
In addition to Qinhuangdao, Anji and another resort close to the Great Wall, will open later this year. “We think there’s room for three to four Joyview resorts around top-tier Chinese cities, and one or two near second-and-third tier cities,” Qian Jiannong said.
Fosun seeks clarifications from Folli Follie
Qian Jiannong, who is also owner of Folli Follie, said Fosun intends to safeguard its interest as a minority shareholder (Fosun is Folli Follie second-largest shareholder and holds 16.37 percent) while it awaits the results of a re-audit.
“We believe in the brand and in the industry of affordable luxury,” he added. “As a financial investor, we are not involved in the operation of Folli Follie and are not in possession of any inside information,” regarding the alleged accounting irregularities.
Folli Follie is besieged by allegations from Quintessential Capital Management, that it fudged its financial accounting. While disputing those allegations, the brand published a list that showed the number of stores in its key Chinese market shrank by more than half in 2017, even as sales in Asia increased.
Fosun said in statement on Thursday that the company had sent an inquiry letter to Folli Follie. “We hope to have prompt clarifications,” Qian Jiannong said.
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