Saudi fortune fund PIF purchases stake in extravagant chain Rocco Forte Hotels


(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has finalized an agreement to acquire a substantial 49 percent stake in Rocco Forte Hotels, a renowned luxury hotel group, in a deal estimated to value the properties at approximately EUR1.2 billion (USD1.52 billion). This strategic move aims to empower Rocco Forte Hotels for global expansion, enhancing its presence and influence in the luxury hospitality sector.

The deal encompasses a "significant" minority stake in Rocco Forte Hotels, the distinguished hospitality chain founded in 1996, known for its iconic properties such as The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Brown’s Hotel in London. With 14 hotels and resorts across Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and Russia, along with 20 private villas, Rocco Forte Hotels is set to reinforce its global footprint.

While the founders, Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi, will retain a majority 51 percent stake in the company, maintaining their roles as executive chairman and deputy chair, respectively, the Italian sovereign wealth fund CDP Equity will divest its entire 23 percent shareholding as part of the transaction. Additionally, four of Sir Rocco's five sisters are expected to exit the company as part of this development.

This strategic investment aligns with PIF's broader vision of diversifying its portfolio and expanding its footprint in the global hospitality sector. The fund has recently made notable investments, including a 10 percent stake in Heathrow Airport. The acquisition of a significant stake in Rocco Forte Hotels adds to PIF's growing interests in luxury hospitality, following minority stake investments in Aman Resorts and Habitas last year.

As Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund continues to strengthen its presence in the United Kingdom and international markets, this article delves into the implications of the Rocco Forte Hotels stake purchase, exploring the strategic vision behind PIF's investment and its broader implications for the luxury hospitality landscape.

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