Saudi billionaire mulling IPO for Fairmont, Four Seasons hotels

November 21, 2013 11:17AM

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is considering an initial public offering for two major hotel chains — Four Seasons Holdings and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Alwaleed and Bill Gates took the Four Seasons private in 2007 in a $3.8 billion deal. Now, Alwaleed said he’s open to an IPO or merger for both of the companies.

“Our objective right now is to grow both companies and have a monetization process,” Alwaleed said in an interview with Bloomberg TV yesterday. “The hotel industry is facing major upside right now. This may go on another three or four years. So there is a zone of opportunity for us right now.”

Alwaleed holds a 35 percent stake in Fairmont, which operates more than 60 hotels globally including the Plaza Hotel, which is owned by the India-based Sahara Group. Four Seasons owns and operates 91 hotels worldwide, including the Four Seasons Hotel New York.

Private equity firms such as Blackstone Group have deemed the time ripe for IPOs of their hotel holdings, due to rising demand for hotel rooms in the globally. [Bloomberg News]Hiten Samtani