Fosun's Missing Billionaire Chairman Spotted in New York City

AP
Guo Guangchang

Whatever caused Guo Guangchang's mysterious disappearance last week hasn't resulted in any restrictions on his travel.

First he was missing, then he was found, now Guo Guangchang, the billionaire chairman of China's Fosun Group, has popped up in New York City.

One week after he mysteriously disappeared and later resurfaced with the explanation that he had been "assisting" the Chinese authorities with a special investigation, a photo of Guo enjoying dinner at a Manhattan restaurant began circulating across Chinese social media on Friday.

A senior Fosun executive confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Guo is indeed visiting New York, suggesting that whatever caused his temporary disappearance hasn't resulted in any restrictions on his travel. The Fosun exec told the Journal that Guo next plans to visit Montreal to attend the opening of Avatar by Cirque du Soleil on Monday.

Fosun Group acquired a controlling stake in Cirque du Soleil last spring. The company is also the principle financier of Jeff Robinov's Studio 8 venture at Sony, and has numerous other entertainment holdings, including stakes in China’s Bona Film Group, Korean talent management firm SM Entertainment and Chinese advertising company Focus Media.

Commonly dubbed "China's Warren Buffet," Guo is the country's 17th richest man with a net worth of $5.6 billion, according to Bloomberg (estimates of his wealth vary widely). His abrupt disappearance last Thursday — and later reports that he was taken into custody at Shanghai International Airport — rattled China's investor community. Many speculated that he had become the latest, highest-profile casualty of China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign, which recently has targeted the financial sector.

But Guo briefly re-appeared at Fosun's annual meeting in Shanghai on Monday, receiving a standing ovation from his staff. Fosun later stated that Guo had been assisting the authorities with an investigation, and that the matters involved in the case were concerned with his personal affairs, rather than those of the company. Still, shares in Fosun Group companies took a dive when a temporary freeze on trading was lifted. Guo then again vacated the public eye.  

Ratings agency Moody's has since improved its outlook for Fosun International, but the company's shares were still down some 10 percent on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday from levels before Guo's temporary disappearance.

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