Saudi prince, Bill Gates bid for luxury hotel chain

A consortium led by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates bid to buy Canada’s Four Seasons luxury hotels for US$3.7 billion, the company said on Monday.

The offer of US$82 per share to take the company private is 28.4 percent higher than Four Seasons’ closing price in New York on Friday, and about 33.1 percent higher than its average price over the past six months. Four Seasons chairman and chief executive Isadore Sharp applauded the move.

“This transaction, with these investors, is the only one I am prepared to pursue,” he said in the statement.

Sharp’s family holding company Triples Holdings Limited is a controlling shareholder and after the transaction is completed would retain 10 percent ownership of Four Seasons, which operates or plans to open 74 hotels worldwide.

The remainder would be split equally between the prince’s Kingdom Hotels International and Gates’ Cascade Investment.

Kingdom Hotels International recently bought Canada’s iconic Fairmont hotels for US$3.9 billion, through American investment fund Colony Capital.

In 1996, the prince also bought the George V hotel in Paris, operated by Four Seasons. 

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 07 November 2006

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