The Real Deal New York

Ashkenazy, Kingdom get extension to close on Plaza deal: sources

The partners missed their June 25 deadline
By Will Parker and Mark Maurer | June 26, 2018 04:30PM

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Ben Ashkenazy, Subrata Roy and the Plaza Hotel at 768 5th Ave (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia)

The Plaza Hotel’s majority owner, Sahara Group, has granted an extension to prospective buyers Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation and Kingdom Holding Company to close on the purchase of the Manhattan landmark, sources close to the deal told The Real Deal.

The partners, who currently own 25 percent of the hotel, went into contract to buy the remaining 75 percent in May with a June 25 deadline to close. On the verge of missing that deadline, the partners were granted an extension, sources said.

The agreed-upon length of the extension was not immediately clear. David Kriss, a lawyer for Ashkenazy, said the deal is expected to close next week, and another source close to the developer claimed the closing was extended by about three weeks until mid-July. A spokesperson for Sahara could not be reached.

As minority owners, Ashkenazy and Kingdom had the right to match the purchase price offered by external bidders. In May, they equalized a $600 million bid that was made by investors Shahal Khan and Kamran Hakim, but soon after sued Sahara over the deposits it had requested. Attorneys for Ashkenazy and Kingdom declined to comment on the suit.

Sahara has not yet responded to the suit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court, but is apparently still willing to work with Ashkenazy and Kingdom to close the sale.

That’s not stopping Khan from trying to get back into the mix, however. A source close to Khan’s investment group, Chimera Group, said that as the closing deadline approached Khan’s lawyers were trying to see if Sahara would instead let Khan and Hakim close the deal in cash. The same source said that a loan on the Plaza, which is owned by former Qatari Prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (HBJ), comes due the first week of July. Upon HBJ acquiring the loan in 2017, some speculated that he would put that loan’s value toward a bid to takeover the Plaza with Ashkenazy, as Bloomberg reported.

Earlier this month, Ashkenazy picked up an AMC movie theater on the Upper West Side for $53 million.