Mirae Asset Global Investments and China’s Anbang Insurance Group faced off last week in the first hearing of their legal fight over a soured $5.8 billion deal for 15 luxury hotels in the United States.
The Delaware Court of Chancery held oral arguments in the lawsuit via videoconferencing for five days from August 24. The arguments made by Mirae Asset and Anbang were largely consistent with what they previously argued in their statements, legal sources said.
“There were no new arguments during the hearing,” said a source. “Anbang Insurance admitted that there were problems with title insurance on hotels included in the sale which could work adversely for Anbang.”
The legal battle began in April when Anbang filed the lawsuit against the South Korean financial group’s four affiliates and MAPS Hotels and Resorts One LLC, a special purpose entity formed to acquire the hotel portfolio. It argued that Mirae Asset failed to perform obligations agreed to under the deal without justifiable reason and asked the court to force the purchase of the hotels.
Mirae Asset countersued Anbang in May, arguing that the Chinese company is to blame for the collapsed deal as it failed to meet some necessary conditions to complete the transaction. It alleged that Anbang intentionally hid issues regarding ownership of the hotels which resulted in problems with the issuance of title insurance.
The two sides will submit their written arguments to the court in the coming weeks and a hearing ruling is expected to come as early as November. There is also speculation among industry watchers about the possibility of arbitration given the huge size of the deal.
U.S. law firm Gibson Dunn and South Korean law firm Kim & Chang are providing legal services to Anbang, while U.S. law firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan and international arbitration firm Peter & Kim are providing legal assistance to Mirae Asset. U.S. law firm Greenberg Traurig and South Korean law firm Yulchon, which acted as legal counsels to the group for the deal, are also helping Mirae Asset with the lawsuit. (Reporting by Byung-yoon Kim)