GIC plans to buy Westin Tokyo Hotel: report

THE Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) will buy the Westin Tokyo luxury hotel (picture) for 77 billion yen ($1 billion) from Morgan Stanley, the Nikkei business daily reported yesterday.

The parties plan to complete the deal by the end of the month, having agreed on a basic outline on the purchase of the land and the building located in Tokyo’s prime Ebisu district, the newspaper said.

GIC will likely have the hotel continue its current operations and aim to increase the asset’s value by making it a longterm investment. The purchase indicates that Japan’s real estate market is relatively attractive even as the property sector around the world is suffering from the fallout of the US subprime mortgage crisis, Nikkei said.

GIC is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, with more than US$200 billion ($283 billion) in assets under management, the report said. Last year, it acquired Hawks Town, a commercial complex in Fukuoka, western Japan. In December and January, GIC announced it would invest $14 billion into UBS and almost $10 billion into Citigroup.

Morgan Stanley purchased the Westin Tokyo for about 50 billion yen from Japanese brewer Sapporo Holdings in 2004. — AGENCIES

Source : Today – 4 Feb 2008