Frederick Barclay demands no less than £1bn for The Ritz London
Billionaire says he will sue if The Ritz London hotel is sold for less than £1bn.
The Barclay family is in quite a state over the planned sales of The Ritz hotel in London.
For the first time in 25 years, London’s iconic Ritz Hotel is on the market and plenty of potential buyers are lining up.
But what may have seemed like the straightforward sale of a highly coveted piece of London real estate is now turning into a family affair shaking up the prominent Barclay business empire.
We find out more about why Fredrick Barclay has even threatened to sue family members over this deal.
Selling a London icon – not as simple as that
According to insiders, the Barclay family put The Ritz on the market in 2019 but has declined offers from potential buyers and investors based in the Middle East.
LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, is also interested. After acquiring the legendary Orient Express train service and Belmond, the London-based owner of hotels including the Cipriani in Venice and the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, LVMH’s interest comes as no surprise.
However, a final deal has not been struck and it seems the Barclay family members’ differing ideas about the price are a major roadblock.
Insisting on crossing the £1bn mark
According to the latest accounts, the owners currently value the property at over £800m and a £265m loan from Citi is secured against the hotel. Despite this valuation at least two of the interested parties are offering a price well below £800m, parties involved with the sale have said.
“I can disclose that there have been a number of competing offers for this first-class hotel in excess of £1bn,” Sir Frederick Barclay said of initial sales talks without revealing who was involved.
“There is no place for any sale for less than full value,” Sir Frederick elaborated. “A sale below the proper value would give rise to further litigation. This would be regrettable.”
This threat of suing family members if the hotel changes hands for less than £1bn is doubtlessly not helping improve the already tense situation.
The stuff of soap operas and spy movies
The idea of threatening his own family with litigation may not seem as drastic when one considers allegations against Sir Frederick’s nephews that they secretly bugged a room in The Ritz to listen in on his private conversations with daughter Amanda.
This only worsened the dispute between the billionaire twin brothers, Sir Frederick and Sir David, and since members of their respective families are also not getting along, the sales process of the hotel and other family assets has become more complicated than necessary and forced potential buyers to navigate parallel processes.
Sir Frederick said he was “deeply saddened” by what he called “unethical conduct and intrusion into my privacy”. “I hope we can get these family matters resolved so that we can all move on.”
However, friends report Sir Frederick and his daughter Amanda worrying about being cut of the proceeds from the hotel’s sale.
Moving forward – somehow
According to Ellerman Investments, the vehicle behind the assets owned by the Barclay family, “neither Sir Frederick nor Amanda Barclay have any relevant legal interest which would allow them to disrupt the sale process,” for the Ritz.
“The process is being independently and professionally run, and continues to progress well. We remain focused on achieving the best value for all shareholders.”
Given that property agents JLL and Richard Faber, former husband of Sir Frederick’s daughter Amanda, are working on the sale but other family members have been dealing with potential buyers directly, let’s see how well it all turns out.
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