The Real Deal New York

Khan and Hakim out, Ashkenazy and bin Talal in at the Plaza: report

Minority partners exercised right of first refusal with $600M offer
By Will Parker and Mark Maurer | May 08, 2018 03:50PM

The Plaza Hotel, Al Waleed bin Talal and Ben Ashkenazy (Credit: Getty Images)

The minority owners of the Plaza Hotel have countered two upstart investors’ plan to buy out majority owner Subrata Roy.

The news comes after The Real Deal reported that investors Shahal Khan and Kamran Hakim signed a contract to pay $600 million for the 75 percent stake in the Plaza. But Ben Ashkenazy’s Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, as the building’s minority owners, have the right of first refusal. They have since exercised that right, the New York Post reported, by offering the same $600 million sum. Roy’s Sahara Group did not comment on the deal reported by the Post.

“The plan is to restore the splendor of The Plaza, which will include the redevelopment of the 100,000 contiguous square feet of retail, including the Oak Room,” Michael Alpert, principal at Ashkenazy, told the Post.

Reached by phone, Khan told TRD that the Ashkenazy bid will not be official until he does what Khan did: put up a $30 million deposit and proof of funds for the final purchase. “He can match the offer but he’s gotta back it up with money,” Khan said. Asked if he doubts the ability of Ashkenazy and bin Talal, who are both billionaires, to put up that cash, he said “We’ll see, I don’t know.”

Once Ashkenazy’s deposit hits, it’s over. There’s no opportunity for Khan and Hakim to up the bid. “This was not an auction,” said JLL’s Jeff Davis, the broker who marketed the stake to buyers.

The deal is slated to close in 45 days, by late June.

Sahara Group, put the hotel on the market in 2016 as Roy became embroiled in legal scandal in India, where he was jailed and ordered to pay billions in penalties to the government. Bin Talal had previously attempted to buy out the Sahara stake with Ashkenazy, but was unsuccessful. Bin Talal too has faced adversity in his own country of Saudi Arabia, where he was detained last fall as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s s-called anti-corruption campaign.