Mirae Asset, Anbang face first legal test on hotels deal

A U.S. court is expected to rule today (Friday) on a filing by China’s Anbang Insurance Group for the rejection of a countersuit by Mirae Asset Financial Group over a collapsed $5.8 billion hotels deal, and market insiders believe it will have a strong bearing on the pending legal battle between the two companies in late August.

Anbang asked the Delaware Court of Chancery to dismiss the countersuit in mid-June, legal sources said on Wednesday (July 22). Mirae Asset filed the suit in May after four of its affiliates — Mirae Asset Global Investments, Mirae Asset Capital, Mirae Asset Daewoo and Mirae Asset Life Insurance — were sued by Anbang for missing a deadline to buy its 15 U.S. hotels.

MAPS Hotels and Resorts One LLC, a paper company formed to acquire the hotel portfolio, was also sued.

Mirae Asset’s countersuit contended that Anbang had not secured full title insurance on the hotels before the transaction deadline, and had initially tried to conceal important issues. It also canceled the acquisition, demanded the return of a $580 million deposit placed in an escrow account and sought damages from Anbang for time and resources it had expended trying to acquire the hotels.

Anbang responded by seeking rejection of the countersuit. Legal sources said a court rejection would nullify Mirae Asset’s counterclaim and affect the outcome of the lawsuit by Anbang, which will begin next month.

“The Delaware Court of Chancery will review contentions of both Anbang and Mirae Asset and make a decision on July 23,” said a source. “The conclusion will have a significant impact on both sides at a time when the first trial is only one month away.” The Delaware Court of Chancery has set the first hearing for August 24. (Reporting by Byung-yoon Kim)