The Ritz London Sold to Qatari Investor at Record Price

Main Photo: The Ritz

Date: March 2020

Location: Piccadilly, London, UK

Name: The Ritz – five red AA star

No. of Keys: 136

Seller: The Ellerman Group, owned by the Barclay family

Buyer: The Ritz London has been sold to an unnamed Qatari investor, with all employees to continue to receive their full salaries while the hotel is closed due to coronavirus.

An update from Hotels Magazine: An investment vehicle controlled by a wife of the former emir of Qatar bought London’s Ritz Hotel, according to reporting from Britain’s Mail on Sunday. Though the deal excludes its casino, the hotel itself was acquired for around £700 million (US$859 million), by a money manager acting for Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, consort to Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, according to the report. The deal was carried out through a Qatari investment vehicle she controls, it said. Representatives for Sheikha Moza bint Nasser denied in an emailed letter to Bloomberg News on Monday that she was involved in the purchase.

A statement from the hotel said: “Following various press reports, we can confirm that the Ritz London has been acquired by a private Qatari investor. The hotel will remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As soon as it is safe, the new ownership together with the hotel’s team look forward to reopening the revolving door, and to the next chapter of Piccadilly’s iconic grande dame hotel. In the meantime, the new owners have confirmed their wish that all employees continue to receive their full salaries during this period of forced closure.”

London-based law firm Macfarlanes advised on the acquisition of the five-red-AA-star, 136-bedroom hotel for an undisclosed sum, which closed its doors last week for the first time in over a century due to coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the new owner said: “It is a privilege to become the owner of the iconic Ritz hotel and have the opportunity to build on its innate style and grand traditions. During this Covid-19 crisis, our first priority is towards the staff of the Ritz, who together are the essence of the Ritz’s 115 year old reputation. Once this pandemic has passed, we look forward to re-opening the hotel and to sharing our longer-term plans.”

Macfarlanes’ Howard Corney said: “We are delighted to have assisted our client with the acquisition of this prestigious institution. The transaction required the support of a large team at a time when the entire firm was working remotely for the first time in its history. The manner in which the team overcame those challenges whilst maintaining the highest client service levels was exceptional.”

Earlier this month Sir Frederick threatened to sue should the Ritz be sold for less than its “proper value” after confirming he had received bids of over £1bn. It was reported last year that the family was looking at options to offload the hotel for around £800m, a price tag which would still make it the most expensive UK hotel sale in history.

A schism at the heart of the family was revealed last month in a hearing at the High Court in London in which family members including Sir David’s three sons were claimed to have been party to secret recordings of conversations between Sir Frederick and his daughter Amanda.

Broker JLL had been hired to work alongside Spartan Advisors, the investment and advisory firm founded by the brothers’ long-term associate Richard Faber. The hotel was offered to a handful of global investors, together with a building next door on Arlington Street that could pave the way for an extension of about 50 rooms.

Price: Thought to be around £700m

Price per Key: £5.15m!

THPT Comment: Almost certainly the most expensive hotel to date, globally? Not bad given they bought it from Trafalgar House (Cunard) in 1995 for around £75m. The hotel makes less than £7m EBITDA.

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