Shanda Group Rebuts Tabloid Accusations
Each year, the debut of the Land Report 100 sponsored by Peoples Company generates a wave of interest from media outlets nationwide and globally. The 2024 reveal in Des Moines on January 9 was no exception, generating a rash of stories due to the addition of Shanda Group founder Tianqiao Chen at No. 82 with 198,000 acres.
On January 13, the Daily Mail posted that the purchase of “198,000 acres of US timberland … does not appear on federal records for foreign land owners.”
On the same day, the New York Post added fuel to the fire when it posted that the “Chinese Communist Party billionaire secretly purchased 200K acres of US land a decade ago.”
Both tabloid stories reference the 2015 purchase by Shanda of nearly 200,000 acres of timberland in Central Oregon from Fidelity National Financial Ventures for $85 million. It did so through an entity known as Whitefish Cascade Forest Resources.
What neither the Daily Mail nor the New York Post took into consideration was the level of due diligence by the Shanda Group prior to acquiring those timberlands. This is particularly pertinent given that three Shanda companies have gone through the rigorous process of being listed on the Nasdaq and a fourth on the Kosdaq.
Treasury Department Approval
Prior to the 2015 purchase of the Crown Pacific acreage from Fidelity National Financial Ventures, the California company “proactively and voluntarily applied for review of the potential acquisition by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS),” according to a January 16 post at the Shanda Group website.
CFIUS is an interagency committee at the US Department of the Treasury that reviews transactions involving foreign investment in the United States and real estate transactions by foreign persons in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States. If any red flags are raised concerning foreign ownership, CFIUS would be the go-to agency to review the acquisition after it closed. Yet Shanda sought its approval prior to the purchase.
“After a thorough examination, CFIUS concluded its review with no findings of national security concerns,” Shanda reports.
Oregon Fish & Wildlife Partnership
Shanda Group offers public access for outdoor recreation on its timberland and works closely with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife to provide exclusive hunting opportunities for disabled veterans and young people. It actively participates in the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project. The company recently donated 10 acres to the Crescent Rural Fire Department to house a community center and headquarters for the fire department.
And like its predecessors dating back more than a century, Shanda Group continues to manage its timber operations with a focus on ensuring forest health.
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