Qatar buys four French luxury hotels and Le Figaro's offices
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Qatari business interests are in the process of buying four of France’s swishest hotels, including Paris’s Concorde Lafayette and the famous Hôtel Martinez in Cannes. The emirate is also buying the building that houses the headquarters of France’s main right-wing paper, Le Figaro, and some offices of the US embassy.
As well as the 950-room Concorde Lafayette and the Martinez, the investor is buying the Hôtel du Louvre in Paris and the the Palais de la Méditerranée in the Côte d’Azur resort of Nice, according to Le Figaro, which says that the deal is worth between 700 million and 750 million euros.
But the paper, a staunch supporter of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, appeared not to know that a Qatari investor was buying the building that houses its own offices.
The central Paris address, 23,000 square metres on the upmarket boulevard Haussmann, is being sold for 300 million euros, a rival newspaper, Le Parisien, revealed on Saturday.
The US embassy also has some offices there.
The identity of the hotel buyers is not certain with unions telling Le Figaro that they only know that they are Qataris.
Sources say that the new owner could be Katara Hospitality, formerly Qatar National Hotels, which has a portfolio of 24 luxury hotels in the UAE and around the world. In May the group announced that it intended to won more than 60 hotels by 2030.
But there is also speculation that it could be Precision Capital SA, formerly Al Mirbaq Capital.
Both companies are owned by member of the Qatari royal family.
The hotels are being sold by US company Starwood Capital, which has been trying to get rid of them for several years and has already sold the Hôtel Crillon, right next to the US embassy on Place de la Concorde, and the Lutetia, which was the headquarters of the German Abwehr intelligence service during World War II and was bought by Israeli group Alrov in 2010.
The US group Hyatt , is expected to take over the hotels’ management. It already runs the Park Hyatt Vendôme, the Hyatt Regency Madeleine in Paris and Hyatt Regency Paris - Charles de Gaulle, near Charles De Gaulle airport.
Qatar already has numerous investments in France, including:
- The Royal Monceau hotel, to which Saudi princess Maha al-Sudani was reported to be heading when she tried to leave the nearby Shangri-la without paying, owned by the Qatari Diar investment fund;
- The Peninsula, near the Champs Elysées, due to open in 2013, also owned by Qatari Diar; The Carlton in Cannes, owned by Ghanim Bin Saad Al Saad;
- Paris St Germain football club and Paris Handball;
- Shares in media giant Lagardère, utility operator Veolia, oil company Total and luxury goods maker LVMH.
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