According to one report, Royale Partners Investment Fund, a Dubai-based investment company, has acquired Sahara Group’s two New York hotels: The Plaza and Dream Downtown. According to the The Hindu Business Line a deal may have been struck two weeks ago and could be worth close to $800 million plus debt.
The report claimed that Sahara and Royal Partners have already devised a share purchase agreement and Royale Partners has deposited about $300 million into an escrow account.
The companies must clear their first hurdle to finalize the deal, which could be securing approval from the minority shareholders of both hotels. Those shareholders obtain the first right to refuse the transaction.
Sahara added the 230-guestroom Plaza and the 315-guestroom Dream Downtown to its portfolio in 2012 for $550 million. Soon after, Bank of China extended a combined loan of $465.85 million against both New York hotels. The loan, which is being funded by another entity, currently stands at about $550 million. Once the two-hotel sale is finalized and the group’s loans are repaid, Sahara will be left with $200-250 million.
The deal, like others before, could be speculative at best and is presently unconfirmed.
Sahara holds an 85-percent stake in Dream Downtown following its acquisition from Indian-American businessman Santh Singh Chatwal. The group then bought a 70-percent stake in The Plaza from Israeli-owned real estate company Elad Properties. Sahara also acquired The Grosvenor House Hotel in the UK, which the company sold this year to GH Equity UK. Kuwait-based investment bank Global Investment House, MBI International and the Al Thani royal family of Qatar submitted bids between £1.2-1.4 billion for Sahara’s stake in the two New York hotels and the Grosvenor House. U.S.-based Madison Capital offered $800 million to acquire just The Plaza and the Dream Downtown.
Sahara must deposit approximately Rs 8,000 crore with SEBI, according to the Supreme Court’s orders. Sahara allegedly raised large sums of money illegally via chit funds. Last July, as the group announced the sale of the three hotels, Sahara deposited an initial Rs 200 crore. When Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy was granted parole following his time two-year jail term for failing to appear at a contempt hearing, the court lifted a restriction to sell only 19 of the group’s properties. The group has planned to use the funds from the hotel sales, which include the Grosvernor House, the Plaza and the Dream New York hotels, to fund Roy’s bail.