Middle East buyer rumoured to be in talks to buy New York's Plaza Hotel

Sahara group who is the principal owner of the Plaza has roped in real estate consultancy JLL to help find a buyer for its iconic Plaza hotel in the US

Plaza Hotel.
Plaza Hotel.

New York's Plaza Hotel, currently owned by Indian company Sahara, is rumoured to be back on the market. This is not the first time the hotel, partly-owned by previously incarcerated Indian businessman Subrata Roy, has been put on the chopping block. 

Wall Street Journal reported that the Sahara group, who is the principal owner of the Plaza, has roped in real estate consultancy JLL to help find a buyer for its Plaza hotel in the US which, according to a Fox Business report, has a valuation of over US $500 million. 

"Sahara is in process of selling (stake in two US hotels) to one large enterprise of Middle East. We would not be able to share the deal value at this stage," the spokesperson told PTI.

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However, The New York Times reported that Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, a New York investment and development company, which together own a 25% stake in the hotel, have their own plans for the Plaza Hotel and plan on buying out the Sahara Group's 75% stake.

Under the Plaza Hotel ownership agreement, the partners have the right to match any offer for the hotel and to take it over.

“We are not selling our stake and are comfortable with our rights relating to any sale by others,” Sarmad Zok, chief executive of the prince’s company, Kingdom Hotel Investments, told the New York Times

In August 2016, Sahara dismissed a US $1.3 billion (AED 4.8 billion) Saudi-UK offer for three hotels- London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, a majority stake in New York’s Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels. 

Previous owners of the 110-year old property include hotelier Conrad Hilton and Donald Trump.

Westin Hotels sold the Plaza Hotel to US President Donald Trump in 1988 for $390 million, who was forced by his lenders at the brink of bankruptcy to sell to Prince al-Waleed in 1995 for $325 million. Fairmont Hotels has been the operator of the property since.

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