Exclusive Us Puts Hna Deals On Ice Until It Gets Ownership Info -source | The News Amed
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Exclusive Us Puts Hna Deals On Ice Until It Gets Ownership Info -source

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NEW YORK – The U.S. government will not approve any investment by HNA Group HNAIRC.UL until the Chinese conglomerate, which has been scrutinized around the world over its ownership structure, provides adequate information on who its shareholders are, a source familiar with the situation said.

Failure to get U.S. regulatory support means that HNA’s high-profile bids to invest in U.S. hedge fund SkyBridge Capital LLC and Swiss trader and miner Glencore’s (GLEN.L) petroleum products storage and logistics business are in limbo. Both investments are currently awaiting approval from the U.S. government.

SkyBridge and Glencore declined to comment. HNA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Faced with questions around its ultimate owners, HNA overhauled its shareholding structure last year to give majority control to two charities. However, regulators, including authorities in Switzerland and New Zealand, are still querying the airline-to-property company about the identity of its owners.

The Chinese conglomerate first announced in January 2017 that it was buying a majority stake in SkyBridge, a hedge fund investment firm founded by Anthony Scaramucci, a former aide to U.S. President Donald Trump. HNA and SkyBridge have never disclosed the terms of the investment.

Scaramucci declined to comment.

But a year on, HNA and SkyBridge have faced repeated delays in getting the green light for their deal from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an intra-government agency that scrutinizes foreign groups’ purchases of U.S. assets to protect national security interests.

A source close to the SkyBridge transaction was downbeat about the prospect of the investment being completed.

Glencore, which agreed last March to sell HNA a stake in its petroleum products storage and logistics business for $775 million, said in December it had closed parts of the deal worth $579 million. It said three assets in the United States still required clearance from CFIUS, and sources familiar with the matter said they expected the deal would be approved by the end of June.

HNA’s inability to get CFIUS approval for its deals is the latest setback for the Chinese company.

HNA had little trouble closing big investments in the United States in 2016 when it bought U.S electronics distributor Ingram Micro IM.N for $6 billion and a near 25 percent stake in hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc (HLT.N).

But after a two-year, $50 billion investment spree, HNA is facing financial, legal and regulatory problems.

CFIUS’ deliberations are usually shrouded in secrecy but a recent lawsuit showed some of the back and forth between the committee and companies involved in the process.

U.S. software engineering company Ness Technologies S.A.R.L., which had agreed to be bought by HNA for $325 million, sued HNA in December for allegedly failing to answer questions about its ownership in a CFIUS review. The deal fell apart when HNA did not get U.S. approval.

Ness said in the lawsuit that HNA and its unit had “covertly worked to evade and frustrate” CFIUS’s review of the investment by “discussing, planning, orchestrating and implementing various schemes to disguise the true nature of their organizations, corporate structures and ownership.”

The U.S. technology firm said CFIUS could not even begin its formal review of the deal because it had “material questions about the completeness and accuracy of the information provided by HNA.”

HNA has said the lawsuit is baseless.

U.S. lawyers who specialize in CFIUS issues said the regulator has the power to reassess previously approved transactions that have closed if it judged that material information was not submitted the first time, or that information sent earlier was misleading.

A CFIUS spokesman declined to comment.

CFIUS’s stance has toughened under Trump as Washington seeks to put pressure on China to help tackle North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, though the lawsuit filed by Ness noted that HNA’s case was unique partly because it repeatedly changed the story about its ownership.

Beijing-based Naura Microelectronics Equipment Co Ltd did win CFIUS approval to buy U.S. semiconductor manufacturing equipment company Akrion Systems LLC, attorneys for Naura said this week.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing and Greg Roumeliotis; Additional reporting by Julia Payne;

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Rarest White Diamond Ever To Be Sold In London

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LONDON – A flawless diamond, the size of a large strawberry, is expected to fetch a world record price when it comes to market at Sotheby’s in London this month.

Weighing just over 102 carats, the round, brilliant white stone is smaller than a 118-carat oval diamond sold in Hong Kong in 2013, which currently holds the record price per carat.

But Sotheby‘s, which also handled that Hong Kong sale, expects the smaller stone’s rarity and high quality will see it attract an even higher price.

Slideshow (5 Images)

“That (stone sold in Hong Kong) fetched $260,000 a carat, currently the world record for any colorless diamond. This one being a round brilliant cut – the asking price will be north of that,” Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds told Reuters.

The diamond is the only stone over 100 carats to have been given the highest grades in every criteria by the Gemological Institute of America, which judges a precious stone’s quality, Sotheby’s said.

It has not disclosed the asking price for the stone, which will be sold in a private sale.

(This story corrects weight of other diamond to 118, not 163, carats in second paragraph and specifies throughout this is private sale, not auction.)

Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London;

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Rarest White Diamond Ever To Be Auctioned In London

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LONDON – A flawless diamond, the size of a large strawberry, is expected to fetch a world record price when it goes on sale at Sotheby’s in London this month.

Weighing just over 102 carats, the round, brilliant white stone is smaller than a 163-carat oval diamond sold in Hong Kong in 2013, which currently holds the record price per carat.

But Sotheby‘s, which also handled that Hong Kong sale, expects the smaller stone’s rarity and high quality will see it attract an even higher price.

Slideshow (5 Images)

“That (stone sold in Hong Kong) fetched $260,000 a carat, currently the world record for any colorless diamond. This one being a round brilliant cut – the asking price will be north of that,” Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds told Reuters.

The diamond is the only stone over 100 carats to have been given the highest grades in every criteria by the Gemological Institute of America, which judges a precious stone’s quality, Sotheby’s said.

It has not disclosed the asking price for the stone, which will be sold in a private sale.

Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London;

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Israeli Archaeologists Unearth 1800-year-old Mosaic

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CAESAREA, Israel – A 1,800-year-old mosaic of toga-clad men dating back to the Roman era has been unearthed in Israel, archaeologists said on Thursday.

The mosaic was discovered during the excavation of a building from the Byzantine period – some 300 years younger than the mosaic it was on top of – in the coastal city of Caesarea.

“The surprise was actually that we found two beautiful monuments from the glorious days of Caesarea,” Peter Gendelman, co-director of excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority, told Reuters of the building and mosaic.

Caesarea was a vibrant Roman metropolis built in honor of Emperor Augustus Caesar by King Herod, who ruled Judea from 37 BC until his death in 4 BC.

Slideshow (5 Images)

The excavated portion of the mosaic, which the antiquities authority said was 3.5 meters by 8 meters in size, depicts three toga-clad men, as well as geometric patterns and an inscription in Greek, which is damaged.

If the mosaic came from a mansion, the figures could have been the owners, or if it was a public building, they may have been the mosaic’s donors or members of the city council, Gendelman said.

The mosaic was of a high artistic standard, with about 12,000 stones per square meter, the antiquities authority said.

Israel is undertaking the largest conservation and reconstruction project in the country in the Caesarea National Park, the antiquities team said. The project aims to reconstruct a Crusaders-era bridge.

Reporting by Rami Amichai; Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London;

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