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US tycoon adds Hilton to hotel group for €30m

American billionaire and media mogul John Malone has snapped up the Dublin Hilton Hotel for an estimated €30m just months after he bought the Trinity Capital Hotel in Dublin's city centre.

The 71-year-old chairman of Liberty Media who owns the cable giant UPC, is reputedly the largest private landowner in the US.

And it appears he now has his sights set on Ireland after buying up Humewood Castle in Co Wicklow overlooking 427 acres for €7.2m in 2012.

Mr Malone, who has family roots in Co Cork but hails from Connecticut, is worth $5.6bn (€4.7bn), according to Forbes magazine.

He bought the Dublin Hilton overlooking the Grand Canal on Charlemont Place in partnership with the Irish owned Lalco Hotel Group.

The hotel was formerly owned by bankrupt property developer Bernard McNamara and Jerry O'Reilly who spent €5m upgrading it in 2008.

Mr Malone's latest purchase adds the Hilton to Lalco's growing stable of Irish hotels, including the Hilton Kilmainham in Dublin, the Harbour and Glenlo Abbey hotels in Galway as well as the Limerick Strand Hotel.

Lalco is upgrading its facilities and will relaunch in April as the Trinity City Hotel.

Lalco director John Lally said: "This is an exciting development for the Lalco Hotel Group and its partnership with the John Malone Group.

"We look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship and focusing on enhancing the experience of guests in all of our properties, through strategic improvements and considered investment."

Mr Malone had originally intended to turn the Gothic Humewood castle into a multi-million euro luxury golf resort but the plan was abandoned during the recession.

SPRAWLING

He still owns the property which includes 15 en suite bedrooms, a ballroom, a Gothic turret, a wine cellar, smoking room and billiards room.

It also features sprawling woodlands and grounds, lakes, stables and three gate lodges as well as three staff cottages.

A spokeswoman couldn't confirm whether Mr Malone intends to live in the castle when he is here on business or if he will develop it as a resort or try to sell it.

In the US he has holdings of 2.2 million acres of land on the east coast as well as owning land in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Fellow American media mogul Ted Turner had been the largest private landowner in the US until Mr Malone bought 1.2 million acres of woodland and forest in New Hampshire and Maine in 2011.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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