Savoy hotel bought by Saudi prince for £250m

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The Independent Online

A former tax inspector who runs a multibillion-pound property portfolio is among a group of investors who will make combined profit of about £50m by selling the Savoy hotel to a billionaire Saudi prince.

A former tax inspector who runs a multibillion-pound property portfolio is among a group of investors who will make combined profit of about £50m by selling the Savoy hotel to a billionaire Saudi prince.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Adbulaziz al-Saud of the Saudi royal family, the world's fourth richest man, has bought the hotel in a deal believed to be worth about £250m, valuing each bedroom at nearly £1m.

The Savoy's neighbouring restaurant, Simpson's-in-the-Strand, is part of the sale from a consortium of investors led by Derek Quinlan's Quinlan Private. The consortium bought the Savoy Group, which included the hotels Claridge's, the Berkeley and the Connaught, the Savoy theatre and the landmark Savoy hotel, for about £750m last May. It is understood that the Savoy was valued at £200m at the time.

Prince Alwaleed, who has been looking to expand his luxury hotels portfolio since buying the upmarket George V hotel in Paris, was involved in the bidding for the Savoy last year but was outbid by Mr Quinlan, a former tax inspector in Dublin and now a prominent Irish financier. He founded Quinlan Private in 1989 and it runs investment syndicates that own more than 150 properties. Its £750m bid for the Savoy Group, then owned by the Blackstone private equity house, was one of its biggest in the UK to date.

The Savoy is now in the hands of Prince Alwaleed's investment vehicle, Kingdom Holdings, an £800m joint venture with the Bank of Scotland. Fairmont Hotels, a Canadian resort operator in which the prince holds a 5 per cent stake, will take over the management of the 263-room Savoy, built on the banks of the Thames as an annexe to the Savoy theatre in 1889. The Savoy includes a Michelin-starred restaurant - the Savoy Grill - and a rooftop pool, and was one of Winston Churchill's favourite hotels.

Kingdom and Fairmont teamed up in the combined takeover of the Monte Carlo Grand hotel last December. Kingdom is expected to make further acquisitions and the prince is reportedly in talks to buy the Intercontinental hotel in Paris.

The remainder of the Savoy group will stay with Quinlan investors, and it will reveal on Monday a brand name for the hotels portfolio, as well as further ambitions in the hotel sector.

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