The announcement by Kingdom Holding that it had sold the Four Seasons London for just SR550m (about $147m) confuses as much as it enlightens.
The unnamed buyer seems to have struck the hotel bargain of the decade, paying just $670,000 for each of the 219 rooms.
Despite Kingdom Holding being listed on the Tadawul, the Saudi exchange, the details of the deal were sketchy. As well as not identifying the buyer, the press release failed to make clear whether all of Kingdom’s 100% stake in the hotel was sold (although this is implied).
What Kingdom Holding, Saudi Arabia’s largest company and 93.5% controlled by Prince Alwaleed, did declare in the release was that it wanted to “monetize and extract value out of the company’s hotel portfolio”.
At the end of October it refinanced the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva for SR375m, a property it owns 50% of, and at the end of September it refinanced the George V in Paris, extracting SR285m for its 75% stake. It also owns just below 45% of the Four Seasons operating company.