India's Sahara Group, which has faced numerous financial hurdles in recent years, was offered $1.3 billion for its three international hotels: the Grosvenor House in London and the Plaza and Dream Hotels in New York City. The offer reportedly came from a consortium of investors that includes Jesdev Saggar-led 3 Associates of the U.K. and others from the Middle East.
Sahara rejected the offer, which Saggar, managing director of 3 Associates, called the "largest hotel bid in the U.K. history." A Sahara spokesperson said that the proposal "is baseless. It is a devious attempt to benchmark the price much lower than the actual market value of the properties in order to ruin the market and disturb the sentiment of the actual bidders who are bidding at market value, which is much higher."
In response, Saggar said: "We have followed the process and submitted in a compliant manner. If the bid is rejected then they should use the same process to communicate...This is a long-term investment opportunity for us. We have submitted a very compelling offer. It is now up to the Supreme Court and the Roy family."
Sahara group chief Subrata Roy spent two years in prison over a long-running dispute with the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The company has been trying to raise required funds, including through refinancing of loans on its overseas hotels. Sahara has been in talks with Qatar-based investors for a potential deal for the three hotels.
The new offer from 3 Associates could trigger a bidding war among the interested parties.