Qataris linked to sale of historic London, New York hotels

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Grosvenor House London.

Grosvenor House London.

An embattled Indian billionaire is putting three high profile hotels in London and New York up for sale, with an investor group linked to the Qatari Royal Family reported to be interested in purchasing at least one of them.

Subrata Roy Sahara, chairman of the Sahara Group, is putting up the Plaza Hotel and Dreams Downtown Hotel in New York, as well as London’s Grosvenor House, up for sale to make the US $1.66 billion bail to get him out of jail.

According to The Economic Times, at least one of the properties, the Marriott-operated Grosvenor House, could be the subject of a three-way bidding war.

It reports that Indian billionaire father-son duo Cyrus and Adar Poonawalla has already made a firm offer, while sources directly involved in the negotiation have identified an investor group linked to the Qatari royal family and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei as rival bidders.

A successful offer from the Qatari party would mark another major high-profile hotel acquisition by investors from the GCC.

According to global hotel consultancy HVS London, total hotel transactions across Europe reached a value of €7.7 billion (US $10.6 billion) in 2013, with Middle Eastern buyers accounting for 30% of the activity.

Qatar-based Katara Hospitality recently acquired five IHG properties in key European markets, including the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes and the Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam.

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