Chinese Tycoon Dies After Falling Off A Wall In France

Chinese Tycoon Dies After Falling Off A Wall In France

HNA said on Wednesday that Wang Jian, 57, had fallen and died from his injuries on Tuesday in Provence, without providing any more details of his death.

In April, HNA disclosed plans to sell at least some of its more than $6.5 billion stake in hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., according to a US regulatory filing. It called Wang "an exceptionally gifted leader and role model". "HNA Wang Jian died" briefly ranked 11th on Twitter-like Weibo's hot topics page, but was quickly gone from the top 50. A financial report in April revealed that HNA's debts have reached $94 billion.

HNA Group controls an 8.8 percent stake in Deutsche Bank. Eventually, HNA expects the foundations to own 100 per cent of the group, the company said at the time.

According to a pledge signed by the 12 stakeholders, Wang's shares will now be split between the NY and Hainan branches of the Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation, which own the majority stake in the HNA Group.

And this week, HNA canceled its A$280 million ($207 million) debt-funded offer to buy the refrigerated trucking arm of Australia's Automotive Holdings Group Ltd.

A police source in France said Wang had died after a 10 meter fall off a wall while trying to take photographs in the village of Bonnieux, near Avignon.

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The collapsed deal came after ANZ Bank in January dropped plans to sell its UDC Finance unit to HNA for NZ$660 million as New Zealand blocked the deal over concerns about the Chinese conglomerate's ownership structure.

Chinese tycoon Wang Jian has died in France in freakish circumstances while on a sight-seeing trip. Since then, it has transformed into a Fortune 500 company, operating China's four-largest airline and acquiring a 25-percent stake in Hilton Worldwide chain of hotels.

"Wang's passing will mark the end of an era", said Corrine Png, CEO at Crucial Perspective Pte., a Singapore-based research firm focused on transportation.

Born in Tianjin, North China, he graduated from the Civil Aviation University of China, which was formerly the Civil Aviation Institute, with a bachelor's degree in airline management before going on to obtain an MBA from the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands.

Concerns about HNA's financial situation mounted in the ensuing months amid government scrutiny over the country's most high-profile acquirers of foreign assets. This explains why HNA's dollar bonds fell after the company confirmed the news of his death.

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