The American “Bloomberg” agency revealed details of a surprising deal between Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and American billionaire Bill Gates.
According to the agency, Bill Gates will control the famous “Four Seasons” hotel chain after his investment company agreed to acquire a share of the Kingdom Holding Company owned by Ibn Talal.
The American billionaire is betting in this deal that luxury travel will recover from the recession caused by the Corona epidemic.
Accordingly, Gates’ Cascade Investment Company will pay $2.2 billion in cash to boost its stake in Four Seasons Holdings from 47.5 percent to 71.25%, according to a statement issued Wednesday evening.
Read also: A fraudster robs the ex-wife of Al-Waleed bin Talal.
The housing and hospitality industry has been stymied by the sharp slowdown in global travel as the world struggles to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Vaccination campaigns have helped the housing boom led by leisure travel, but luxury hotels are still lagging behind low-quality properties, according to data from STR.
According to Bloomberg, Gates, 65, and Alwaleed, 66, have known each other for decades. In 2017, Gates described the prince as an important partner in their charitable work.
“The Four Seasons”
The Four Seasons became a private company in 2007, when it ran 74 hotels, with Gates and Alwaleed at the forefront of shareholders.
The new owners expanded the company’s presence to include more markets in an attempt to take advantage of the booming market for luxury travel at this time.
The chain now operates 121 hotels and resorts, 46 residential properties, and more than 50 other projects are under development, according to the statement.
Is Alwaleed bin Talal going through a crisis?
This deal prompted activists to doubt and question why Al-Waleed bin Talal sold his property.
It is known that the Saudi prince is under house arrest in the Kingdom and cannot leave Saudi Arabia, since his release from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in which he was detained, by order of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In November 2017, the Anti-Corruption Committee headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrested dozens of princes, ministers, officials and prominent businessmen in the campaign. They face charges of money laundering, taking bribes, extorting officials, and exploiting public office for personal gain.
Among those princes who were arrested was Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.
A royal order issued at the time stated that the campaign came “in view of what we have noticed and felt of exploitation by some weak-minded Prime Time Zone who have overpowered their private interests over the public interest… taking advantage of their influence and the authority they were entrusted with in trespassing, misusing and embezzling public money, taking various methods to hide their shameful deeds.”
A deal to release the prince
According to previous Western reports, the Saudi authorities asked businessman Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to pay up to seven billion dollars for his release.
Before that, the Financial Times revealed that Al-Waleed offered to transfer his 95% stake in Kingdom Holding Company to the Saudi government in exchange for his release. But the government demanded that the payment be made in cash or by agreement including cash and shares.
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