Sultan of Brunei Bids for Three Hotels Owned by Sahara Conglomerate
According to sources, the Sultan of Brunei has made a bid for Manhattan’s Dream Hotel, New York's Plaza Hotel and Grosvenor House Hotel of London.
An investment arm of Qatari royal family has offered to pay $2 billion for the three hotels, which are currently owned by India's Sahara conglomerate.
Subrata Roy, Sahara's chairman has been negotiating a sale of the company's luxury hotels from a makeshift office in prison, having been held for more than five months after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running dispute over his group's failure to repay billions of dollars to investors who were sold outlawed bonds.
Last week, S Ganesh, Subrata Roy's lawyer told India's Supreme Court that the businessman was holding "very effective" negotiations with potential buyers and that the group had signed a preliminary agreement for the hotels. The sale will help fund a $1.65 billion bond demanded by the Supreme Court of India to allow bail for Roy.
According to Wall Street Journal, Brunei officials have reportedly been in discussions throughout the summer with representatives of Sahara and adding that an agreement could be reached as early as next month.
The Sultan of Brunei as well as the Dorchester Collection, his luxury hotel operator has been criticized for harsh new laws enacted in Brunei.
The laws, which include death by stoning for adulterers and homosexuals, have fueled public outcry in the United States for the company to sell its properties. This has resulted in boycotts of the Beverly Hills Hotel and other Dorchester properties in Europe and is costing the Dorchester Collection millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Sultan of Brunei's offer is a leading contender among a handful of potential buyers, which also includes Middle Eastern government funds.
According to Hotel analysts if Brunei purchases the Plaza, it could draw the famed hotel into the dispute, potentially damaging its business as well as its reputation.