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Ritz co-owner reveals bids over £1bn made to buy famous hotel

News of offers amid 'falling out between elements of Barclay family'

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Famous hotel: The London Ritz Hotel was bought by twins Frederick and David Barclay in 1995 and is now the subject of competing bids

Famous hotel: The London Ritz Hotel was bought by twins Frederick and David Barclay in 1995 and is now the subject of competing bids

Famous hotel: The London Ritz Hotel was bought by twins Frederick and David Barclay in 1995 and is now the subject of competing bids

Famous hotel: The London Ritz Hotel was bought by twins Frederick and David Barclay in 1995 and is now the subject of competing bids

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Famous hotel: The London Ritz Hotel was bought by twins Frederick and David Barclay in 1995 and is now the subject of competing bids

Frederick Barclay, the billionaire co-owner of the London Ritz Hotel, says he has received competing bids to buy it for more than £1bn (€1.15bn).

Mr Barclay, who bought the London landmark with his twin brother David in 1995, said any move to sell the establishment for "below the proper value would give rise to further litigation".

His statement comes after a court heard details last week about disputes within the family over the direction of the Barclays' business empire amid allegations that Frederick Barclay was secretly recorded for several months after his nephew bugged the conservatory of the hotel.

In his statement, Mr Barclay said: "I take great pride in the Ritz Hotel and its success ever since I personally wrote a £7.5m cheque as down payment in 1995.

"There are 450 employees at the hotel who do a fantastic job.

"I can disclose that there have been a number of competing offers for this first-class hotel in excess of £1bn.

"I have no doubt that such offers will be considered so that the Ritz is sold at the right time and for a proper price.

"There is no place for any sale at less than full value. A sale below the proper value would give rise to further litigation. This would be regrettable.

"I am deeply shocked and saddened about recent events. I hope we can get these family matters resolved so that we can all move on."

The statement comes after media reports that bids were at around £700m, less than the family had hoped for.

The High Court heard last week that the 85-year-old businessman and his daughter Amanda claim that David Barclay's three sons, Alistair, Aidan and Howard, and Aidan's son Andrew, were parties to the recording of their private conversations over several months.

Frederick and Amanda Barclay brought a legal action alleging misuse of private information, breach of confidence and breach of data protection laws against their four relatives, and Philip Peters, who "holds a board position" in the Barclay group of businesses.

Desmond Browne QC, representing Frederick and Amanda Barclay, asked the court to make an interim non-disclosure order, preventing the defendants from disclosing the recordings.

Heather Rogers QC, representing all five defendants, said there was no need to make an interim non-disclosure order.

She told the court there was "a lot of information that would have been in the possession of my clients... which they have got completely free of the recordings".

She added that her clients had "ample opportunity" to "spread it about before an injunction" was granted, but there was "no evidence of dissemination".

Giving a short ruling dismissing the application for a non-disclosure order, Mr Justice Warby said the claim "stems from the falling out between elements of the families of Frederick and David Barclay".

He said that "substantial parts of the business enterprises" the twins had built up - which include interests in the Ritz and the publisher of the 'Daily Telegraph' - "are now owned by trusts, beneficiaries of which include" Amanda, Alistair, Aidan and Howard Barclay.

The judge added that the "vexed litigation" arose "over the governance and direction of the group businesses".

Mr Justice Warby declined to make the order sought, ruling that "there was no intention and no evidence of any intention" to disclose the recordings.

PA City

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