By Staff writer
Embattled company describes bid as 'baseless'; says it values prime assets in London, New York under market value
India's Sahara group has dismissed a $1.3 billion UK-Saudi bid for its three hotels in London and New York as "baseless", saying it has valued the assets below market price.
The Subrata Roy-led group, which owns Grosvenor House Hotel in London along with Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels in New York, had received the proposal from a consortium of London-based family office 3 Associates and a family office each in Saudi Arabia and UAE, according to media reports in India.
Qatar Investment Authority was reported earlier this month to be in discussions over a deal for London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, for an estimated $337 million.
The new bid from the Saudi-UK consortium could spark a bidding war between the two parties for the assets, it had been reported.
But a Sahara spokesman was quoted in India media as saying: "It is a devious attempt to benchmark the price much lower than the actual market value of the properties in order to ruin the market and disturb the sentiments of the actual bidders who are bidding at market value which is much higher. Please note it is a malicious, and non-serious act of some wrong people."
Jesdev Saggar, managing director of 3 Associates, responded: "The Roy family are within rights to reject the bid and we will choose to ignore the emotionally charged responses."
Saggar said valuation was arrived at "with independent advice and within guideline set out by Supreme Court based on recent valuations published as guidance".
Once regarded as one of India’s most powerful men, Sahara chairman Subrata Roy is currently on bail as the group battles to pay back an estimated 30 million investors.
Sahara is attempting to sell off a number of assets - including the Sahara Star hotel in Mumbai, its 42 percent stake in F1 team Force India and four aircraft – as it seeks to pay off its creditors.
Roy, released on bail since May, will return to custody in August if fails to lodge a bail fee of $1.5 billion.