The Barclay brothers, owners of the Ritz in London, have acquired three of London's most prestigious five-star hotels, Claridge's, the Connaught and Berkeley, for £700 million ($1.09 billion).
The Channel Islands-based billionaire Barclay brothers, who also own the Daily Telegraph, is buying the hotels from the Irish government agency, National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), which was created to manage the debts arising from the crash of the Irish property market in 2009.
Maybourne Hotel Group, an Irish property company, had acquired the hotels in 2005 with loans from two Irish banks, the Allied Irish Banks and Anglo Irish Bank, but when the property market crashed, NAMA took over the loans in 2010 and today sold the loans to Barclays' company Maybourne Finance Limited, which gives them ownership of the hotels.
In a statement, NAMA said that the loans were sold for in excess of £700 million with NAMA recovering 100 per cent of the original value of the loans plus interest.
The deal is the first sale by NAMA, which has lent around £26 billion to prime properties in the UK and Europe, including the Citigroup tower in Canary Wharf, the Louis Vuitton building in Bond Street and the Crowne Plaza in London.
Last year, the reclusive Barclay brothers had sold their entire 29.9 million shares or around 10-per cent stake in InterContinental Hotel Group for around £335 million ($520 million).