Dubai firm buys stake in Kerzner’s Atlantis hotels

04/03/2014 6:25 PM

04/04/2014 3:10 PM

A Dubai government conglomerate behind some of the emirate’s industrial powerhouses said Thursday it bought a “significant” stake in the international hotel operator that runs the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas and on Dubai’s main palm-shaped island.

Investment Corporation of Dubai said it bought the stake in Kerzner International Holdings from the family of its founder and several institutional investors. Neither company disclosed the purchase price, but an ICD official told The Associated Press the investment company now owns a stake of more than 40 percent. Kerzner International is headquartered in Dubai but has some administrative offices in Plantation.

ICD is an investment arm of the Dubai government. The CEO of ICD, Mohammed Al Shaibani, is now chairman of the hotel operator, replacing founder Sol Kerzner. Kerzner International CEO Alan Leibman will stay in his position.

“Kerzner is entering an exciting new chapter in our business,” Leibman said in a statement. “We are happy to have ICD as a major shareholder as they recognize the value driven by the world-class experiences and destinations delivered by the Kerzner brands.”

Goldman Sachs and Colony Capital also have holdings in the company. Another state-owned Dubai firm, Istithmar World, bought out Kerzner’s stake in the Atlantis Palm in Dubai in 2012.

Kerzner still runs the hotel operations for the One&Only and Atlantis brand in Dubai, as well as Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas and other resorts in the Bahamas, Mauritius, Maldives, Mexico and South Africa. A new Atlantis resort is being planned in China.

Al Shaibani said the investment comes on the back of Dubai’s push to boost its hotel and tourism industry as the city prepares to host the World Expo in 2020.

“This investment reaffirms ICD’s commitment to support the long-term growth of our domestic hospitality market, a key pillar of and growth sector for the Dubai economy,” Al Shaibani said in a statement.

ICD’s holdings include the Middle East’s biggest airline Emirates and a stake in Emaar Properties, the builder of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai, part of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, has positioned itself a destination for over-the-top luxury and opulence.

Dubai also has a penchant for monumental buildings and development projects, notably a large area around a new airport with hotels, housing and a new conference center to host the world fair in six years.

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