The Real Deal New York

Paradise lost? Ashkenazy deal for Brookfield’s Atlantis resort in the Bahamas falls though

Ben Ashkenazy planned to acquire the property with Qatari backing
February 26, 2019 11:45AM

Ben Ashkenazy (left), Ric Clark, and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas (Credit: Getty Images and Nassau Paradise Island)

Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation has walked away from a deal with Brookfield Asset Management to acquire the 3,805-key Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.

The New York-based investor, which was said to be financing the acquisition with funds from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, ended talks after discovering surprise deferred maintenance costs during due diligence, according to Nassau’s Tribune 242 newspaper.

But Ashkenazy, once a minority owner of the Plaza Hotel, was unable to renegotiate the sale price, according to sources who spoke to Tribune 242.

“They found more and more issues and they walked,” a source told the paper.

Ashkenazy and Brookfield had signed a letter of intent, which allowed for a 30-day due diligence period. Neither party responded to requests for comment.

Ashkenazy has done a number of deals with backing from Qatar. The most notable was with the country’s former prime minister and royal Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber al-Thani, or HBJ, from whom Ashkenazy borrowed money to purchase the Grosvenor House hotel in London. At the Plaza in New York, HBJ acquired a mortgage when Ashkenazy was a minority owner of the hotel.

Brookfield has twice refinanced its debt on the Atlantis since acquiring it in 2012. It completed a $1.9 billion recapitalization of the property in 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. [Tribune 242] — Will Parker