Bill Gates’ investment firm to take control of Four Seasons in $2.21bn deal

by | 22 Sep 2021 | Chains

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans

Cascade Investment plans to increase its stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in a transaction that gives the luxury hospitality company an enterprise value of US$10 billion.

One of the world’s largest hotel groups has pledged to pursue ambitious growth plans amid a significant change in its shareholder base.

Bill Gates ups stake in Four Seasons

Cascade Investment, an investment firm that holds assets of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has agreed an all-cash deal to purchase a 23.75% stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts from Riyadh-based conglomerate Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), led by Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, for US$2.21 billion. The proposed transaction gives Four Seasons an enterprise value of $10 billion. 

The move would give Cascade a 71.25% controlling stake in Four Seasons, with KHC retaining 23.75% and Four Seasons founder and chairman Isadore Sharp keeping 5% through Triples Holdings.

Accelerating growth

Four Seasons said that Cascade’s decision to increase its exposure reflects the firm’s ‘strong belief and excitement for Four Seasons’ iconic brand’. The business added that Cascade has reaffirmed its support for the Toronto-headquartered company’s vision and unique culture, and that the deal strengthens Cascade’s commitment to provide the ‘resources to accelerate growth and expand its strategic goals’.

“As we mark our 60th anniversary and look back on the profound impact that Four Seasons has had on luxury hospitality, we also look forward with tremendous excitement and confidence in the future of the industry,” said Four Seasons CEO John Davison. “The unwavering support and partnership of our shareholders has and continues to be critical as we capitalise on growing opportunities to serve luxury consumers worldwide.

“Our company is at yet another key moment in its storied history and the confidence of our shareholders in Four Seasons and our strategic vision help position the iconic Four Seasons brand for continued success.”

A long-term investment in Four Seasons

Founded by Sharp in 1960, Four Seasons now manages 121 hotels and resorts, and 46 residential properties, in 47 countries, and has a pipeline of more than 50 schemes at various stages of development. Earlier this month, it announced the launch of the long-awaited Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans on the Mississippi waterfront.

Cascade first acquired shares in Four Seasons in 1997, a decade before the company went private. The deal is expected to close in January 2022, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

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