Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has launched a £1.6 billion takeover bid for the Maybourne Hotel Group.
The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund is seeking to acquire the group – which owns the Berkeley, the Connaught and Claridges in London – from holding company, Coroin.
Coroin, which is part-owned by the Barclay brothers, is understood to have given ADIA access to financial data as it prepares for a formal bid.
While the Barclay brothers own a 64 per cent stake in the group, the remaining share is held by Irish property developer Paddy McKillen.
McKillen took the brothers to court in 2012 over their attempts to gain control of the company.
He, however, lost the case and a subsequent appeal in 2013, with the fraught relationship potentially complicating any deal.
ADIA is reported to have indicated it would be prepared to take a majority stake in the hotel group.
This would leave McKillen as minority owner.
A pre-emption clause in shareholding rules means the Barclays would be required to offer their stake to McKillen before selling to anyone else.
ADIA, which also owns the Lanesborough in London, bought 42 regional Marriott hotels from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2013 in a deal worth £640 million.