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Four seasons to become the intercontinental

Dublin's Four Seasons Hotel is to be known as the InterContinental Dublin from January 1 after the hotel's owner signed a franchise agreement with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

It had been expected that the Dublin 4 hotel would become a Hyatt after news earlier this year that the hotel's owner Ballsbridge Hotel Ltd and Four Seasons had agreed to end their relationship.

IHG's chief development officer for Europe Robert Shepherd said the company was "thrilled to have signed this distinctive property".

IHG has brands including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn in its portfolio.

"Our team is excited about the future of this hotel, and we look forward to building on our past and current success," said Desmond Taljaard, managing director of the hotel owner's affiliate London & Regional Properties.

Speculation over the hotel's future has abounded in recent weeks. Earlier this month The Sunday Times reported that businessman Denis O'Brien had made an approach to buy it. A spokesman for Mr O'Brien declined to comment yesterday.

"I think always in situations like this there's going to be speculation, I can't comment really more than that," said a representative of the hotel's current owner.