UAE billionaire Al Habtoor in deal for US hotel

Reported purchase would mark hospitality debut in US for Al Habtoor Group

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor is reported to be expanding his hospitality empire into the US, with the imminent purchase of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield, Illinois.

The current owner of the hotel told local newspaper the Illinois Times that the billionaire Emirati businessman visited the hotel a month ago and made an unsolicited offer for it.

According to the report, he had been in the area to see former US President Jimmy Carter, known to be a friend and partner in diplomatic efforts, speak at a local college.

While no price has been disclosed, the purchase, by Al Habtoor Group, is expected to be completed in the next two weeks.

Currently operated under the Doubletree by Hilton brand, it is expected to remain under Hilton management.

Al Habtoor owns four hotels in Dubai, including the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, and is currently building a three-hotel complex in Business Bay, which will all be operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Internationally, its most recent purchase was the Intercontinental Budapest, while a British newspaper recently reported that he is planning to front a £1 billion ($1.7 billion) hotel acquisition spree in London.

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