Qatar said to be in talks to raise Fairmont Raffles stake

Gulf state reportedly looking to acquire more of hotel from US-based Colony Capital

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Qatar is in negotiations to increase its stake in privately held Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, it has been reported.

Qatar’s real estate investment arm Qatari Diar, alongside Cayman-registered fund Voyager Partners in 2010 bought 40 percent of the luxury hotelier in agreements worth $847m.

London’s Financial Times said that the oil and gas-rich Gulf state was now in talks to acquire US-based Colony Capital’s shareholding, which was around 22 percent following the 2010 deal.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that we’ll be increasing that stake,” Christopher Knable, chief operating officer of Katara Hospitality, the hotels division of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, told the newspaper. Knable did not specify whether it would be Katara that would be purchasing the stake, or another state-linked entity.

A person familiar with the matter told the Financial Times that Qatar’s total stake in the hotelier now stood at around 45 percent, with the remaining 55 percent shared equally between Colony and Kingdom Holding, the Saudi Arabian investment firm led by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Any new transaction could see Qatar buy Colony’s current stake of more than 20 percent, with Kingdom Holding keeping its own shareholding in Fairmont.

Colony and Qatar have been done business in the past, with the investment firm’s founder Tom Barrack in 2011 selling French football club Paris St Germain to investors in the Gulf state. Last year, Colony also sold Sardinia-based luxury resorts firm Smeralda Holding to Qatar for approximately $1bn.

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