London’s Ritz Hotel, one of the best known hospitality ‘names’ in the world, was acquired last night by an unnamed buyer. The deal was announced shortly after it closed its doors on Friday, for the first time in 113 years in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The deal with an unnamed Qatari investment fund was revealed with almost no further details by the acquirers legal advisers City of London law firm Macfarlanes.
Negotiations around the deal to sell The Ritz have been acrimonious and ongoing, involving a bitter family feud between previous owners Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay, who acquired the landmark London property in Mayfair for £75 million in 1995.
Much speculation has also been ongoing in recent months around who the most likely acquirer would be, the world’s largest luxury group LVMH was frequently named as potential suitors, as were lesser well known investment vehicles.
The transaction price was not released but Sir Frederick Barclay has said prior to the deal being announced that he had placed a minimum valuation of £1 Billion on the property.
City of London law firm Macfarlanes who advised the acquirer on the deal work across all sectors of real estate. They specialise in highly complex and high-profile investment and development projects, incorporating joint ventures and cross-border matters, real estate fund structuring and inward investment elements.
The Macfarlanes team covering the acquisition of The Ritz London was led by corporate and M&A partner Howard Corney. Further expertise was provided by a number of practices across the firm including real estate partner Tom Pedder, employment partner Seán Lavin, commercial partner Malcolm Walton and tax and reward senior counsel Kirsten Prichard Jones.
Howard Corney commented: “We are delighted to have assisted our client with the acquisition of this prestigious institution. The transaction required the support of a large team at a time when the entire firm was working remotely for the first time in its history. The manner in which the team overcame those challenges whilst maintaining the highest client service levels was exceptional.”
A spokesperson for the new owner commented: “It is a privilege to become the owner of the iconic Ritz Hotel and have the opportunity to build on its innate style and grand traditions. During this COVID-19 crisis, our first priority is towards the staff of The Ritz, who together are the essence of The Ritz’s 115 year old reputation. Once this pandemic has passed, we look forward to re-opening the hotel and to sharing our longer-term plans.”