By Courtney Trenwith
Dubai businessman says negotiations to buy three luxury London hotels from the British billionaires were scuffled
The chairman of Dubai conglomerate Al Habtoor Group has publicly complained that his time was “wasted” after a broker spent months promising to help him buy three luxury London hotels from the billionaire British Barclay brothers.
Khalaf Al Habtoor, a prominent businessman whose company includes investments in real estate, hospitality and automotives, confirmed on Tuesday he had spent several months working on a deal to buy the Berkeley Hotel, Claridge’s and the Connaught from the twin brothers Sirs David and Frederick.
The brothers currently control the Maybourne Hotel Group, which owns the three hotels. The group is the subject of a long-running legal battle between the brothers and independent shareholder Irish property developer Paddy McKillon.
Al Habtoor said eventually he was told the brothers, estimated to be worth £6 billion ($9.4bn), would not sell.
“We told him thank you very much, I wish we knew that before. [Thanks] for wasting our time,” Al Habtoor, who said he knows the Barclays “quite well”, said during a press conference to launch three new projects in Dubai.
The brothers, who have significant media holdings and have the tenancy rights of one of the Channel Islands, have faced numerous controversies including tax avoidance.
The secret to big deals is always to make them before the market turns.....and often markets turn on a bit of news!