The Chinese insurance company which gatecrashed the merger negotiations between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts earlier this year has been reported as now turning its attentions to InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
Anbang Insurance Group was said to be considering a £7b acquisition of IHG, the UK-based owner of Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo brands, according to the Sunday Times.
However, Bloomberg later reported that Anbang had denied considering a bid for IHG, while IHG declined to comment.
IHG, which currently has a portfolio of 4,700 hotels comprising 674,000 bedrooms, has been the rumour of takeover bids for the past two years.
In August 2014, Marcato Capital Management (MCM), a San Francisco-based investment company that has a stake of around 4% in IHG, urged the company to pursue a merger with another major operator. IHG later denied that it was is in the running for a possible merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Anbang, which is one of China's largest insurance companies, already has hotel interests, having brought New York's Waldorf Astoria in 2014. Earlier this year it made a $6.5b (£4.6b) bid for strategic Hotels & Resorts, a group of 16 luxury properties in the US, from Blackstone Group.
Anbang eventually withdrew its $14b (£9.8b) offer from what had become frenzied negotiations for Starwood, leaving the path clear for Marriott to complete its acquisition of the company for $13.6b (£9.5b) in the next few weeks.