Irish investors poised to sell stake in London hotel group
LUXURY London hotel group Maybourne Hotels, which belongs to several high-profile Irish investors and owns Claridge's, the Connaught and Berkeley hotels, is set to sell a £200m (€240m) stake to US investors.
Maybourne, which counts developers Paddy McKillen and Derek Quinlan among its shareholders, alongside the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), 'Riverdance' founders Moya Doherty and John McColgan, and Davy Stockbrokers' Kyran McLaughlin, is in final talks with US-based Westbrook Partners and an unidentified property trust to sell a £200m (€240m) stake, according to local media reports.
Maybourne, which owes £610m (€733m) to Anglo Irish and Bank of Ireland, is in the final stages of talks, Sky News quoted a spokeswoman as saying. The deal would mean that the two banks would be repaid what they are owed, saving the State millions of euros.
Westbrook Partners is a private New York-based real estate investor which bought controlling stakes in the Four Seasons hotels in Miami and San Francisco, as well as the Ritz-Carlton in Boston earlier this year.
Deutsche Bank is also working on a proposal to refinance about £400m (€480m) of senior debt that falls due at the end of the year.
Maybourne's shareholders have also had approaches from wealthy investors, understood to include funds based in the Middle East, about a potential takeover of the whole company, according to UK press reports.
A spokeswoman for Maybourne declined to comment on the talks with Westbrook but said the group's "refinancing is in the final stages and we are not in a position to comment until it is completed".
Part of Maybourne's hotel assets have been placed with NAMA, although that decision is being challenged in the courts by Mr McKillen. The Belfast-born property magnate has argued that NAMA's involvement was clouding the group's reputation.
Maybourne's latest accounts show the business had debts of £672m (€808m) due after one year. The debt level compares with total assets, minus liabilities due within one year, of £679m (€816m).
Operating portfolio at the end of June 2009 was £29m (€35m) on sales of £103m (€124m). The group lost £3.2m (€3.8m) last year, down from a £9.2m (€11m) loss the previous year. Interest payments were £39m (€47m).