Qatari investor acquires The Ritz London

30 March 2020

Macfarlanes has advised on the acquisition of The Ritz by one of its private Qatari investor clients.

David and Frederick Barclay purchased the hotel for £75m in 1995. The sale price is unknown, but it believed to be about £750m.

The Macfarlanes team was led by corporate and M&A partner Howard Corney with expertise 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 comments: “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.”

The sale has prompted Frederick Barclay to threaten legal action.

Sir Fredrick Barclay, who along with his daughter Amanda is in a bitter battle with his brother’s side of the family over the family assets, said the spread of the Coronavirus had been used to push through the sale.

Frederick, who has threatened to sue if a sale of the Ritz goes through for less than £1bn, has expressed outrage at not being consulted on the sale.

“This deal, if it has occurred, appears to have been pushed through in the middle of the coronavirus crisis in the hope that it will be uncontested,” said a spokesman for Sir Frederick Barclay.

Relations between the two sides of the Barclay brothers family have fallen apart since Fredrick’s nephew was caught handling a recording device in the conservatory of the Ritz, where Fredrick often conducts meetings, according to court papers The Guardian reported.

“We are surprised and perturbed by the announcement that the Ritz hotel has allegedly been sold,” a spokesman for Frederick Barclay told the Guardian. “We have neither consulted nor have we approved this sale. As we outlined earlier this month, any potential purchaser will face significant litigation if this deal is not approved by all sides.”

The family of Frederick’s brother, David, handles the day-to-day running and two of his sons, Aidan and Howard, control the Barclays empire as directors of Ellerman Investments Ltd, the holding company of the Barclays UK assets.

“We are pleased to have agreed a sale of the Ritz that secures great value for all shareholders, following a rigorous process led by independent advisers,” said a spokesman for Ellerman Investments Ltd.

“The buyer is committed to investing in the Ritz and its staff for the long-term, ensuring a bright future for this unique asset. We also note that neither Sir Frederick nor Amanda Barclay have any relevant legal interest which would allow them to disrupt the sale.”


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