By Clare Jim and Donny Kwok
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Vanke Co Ltd <2202.HK> and its partners are in talks with Blackstone Group LP <BX.N> and third parties to buy property firms for 12.9 billion yuan ($1.9 billion), the Chinese developer said on Tuesday.
The disclosure by Vanke came after its second-biggest shareholder, China Resources, criticized the board's approval of a white knight deal with Shenzhen Metro as being invalid because one director had abstained from voting.
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The independent director, Zhang Liping, is employed by Blackstone and abstained as he thought approval of the Shenzhen Metro deal might affect talks with the U.S. firm, Vanke has said, adding that this was within company rules.
Vanke is mired in a high-profile corporate power struggle. Fearing a hostile takeover bid by its biggest shareholder, financial conglomerate Baoneng, Vanke's management announced a $6.9 billion deal with Shenzhen Metro Group last month, which would dilute the holdings of Baoneng and China Resources.
This month, Baoneng nudged up its stake after a setback in its efforts to oust the property developer's board, further fanning speculation of what would be a rare hostile bid for a mainland Chinese company.
Vanke, China's largest listed property developer <000002.SZ> said in a statement on Tuesday it would spend about 3.9 billion yuan on the commercial property acquisitions but said financing of the deal would not entail the issuance of any securities.
Vanke did not identify its partners, the commercial property firms or the third parties that own the stakes with Blackstone.
Vanke representatives did not reply to requests for comment while Blackstone was not immediately available for comment outside of regular business hours.
The developer also said it has not entered into any legally binding agreement regarding the deal, which was approved by its board on June 21.
Late on Tuesday, Vanke issued a statement citing its major shareholders - including Baoneng's unit Jushenghua, China Resources and Shenzhen Metro - as saying media reports about the developer becoming a state-controlled entity were inaccurate.
The media reports said Vanke, one of China's best known private enterprises, would ultimately become state-controlled as state-owned companies such as China Resources and Shenzhen Metro would increase their stakes.
(Additional reporting by Meg Shen; editing by Edwina Gibbs and David Clarke)