The historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, famed for its colonial grandeur and the Singapore Sling cocktail, is to change hands in a deal worth $275 million (£180 million).
The luxury 103-room hotel, a favourite watering hole of literary figures including Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling, looks set to be acquired from Fairmont Raffles Hotels International by Qatari Diar, part of the state-controlled sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.
Talks over a deal come a year after The Times reported that Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire who controls Fairmont Raffles, had secretly put the 123-year-old hotel up for sale with an asking price of more than $350 million - a story that was later denied by the Prince's Kingdom Holding Company.
News of a possible sale of Raffles comes hot on the heels of the purchase this week by Qatari Diar of a 40 per cent stake in Fairmont Raffles itself, a deal that reduces Kingdom's stake from 58 per cent to 35 per cent. Colony Capital, the American property and private equity investor, is cutting its holding to 22 per cent.
The $847 million headline price comprises $467 million for a 40 per cent stake, another $105 million in the form of hotel management contracts that Qatari Diar will award to Fairmont Raffles on a number of other hotels it owns, plus $275 million for an unnamed hotel property.
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