London’s Grosvenor House to be sold

18th Jan 2010
London’s Grosvenor House to be sold

The “For Sale” sign is going up on London’s iconic Grosvenor House Hotel following a sharp rebound in the capital’s commercial property sector. Its owner, government-funded Royal Bank of Scotland, is hoping to raise £600-£700m in a bid to rebuild its balance sheet.

Property agent CBRE is being lined up to handle the sale of the Park Lane hotel, which could be brought to the market as early as this month, according to Estates Gazette.

Both domestic and overseas investors have been busy buying into London’s commercial property sector since the summer, and the market has picked up sufficiently to warrant the sale.

Grosvenor House is operated by JW Marriott and has 494 bedrooms. A price of £600m would equate to £1.2m per room. The venue is renowned for its roster of top ceremonies including the Professional Footballers’ Association Awards, the World Travel Awards and the Mercury Music Awards.

RBS, as well as the other UK state-backed bank, Lloyds, are keen to divest their property portfolios, according to the Telegraph.

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It attempted a sale in 2007 and 2008, with a number of Middle East groups linked with a deal, including Kuwait’s Adeem and Bahrain’s ruling family.

RBS took control of the Grosvenor in 2001, paying £1.25bn for 12 Le Meridien hotels as part of a sale-and-lease-back deal that was used by Nomura to finance its £1.9bn acquisition of Le Meridien from Compass.

The deal was masterminded by Guy Hands, one of Britain’s most high-profile private equity bosses and then a Nomura financier.

Le Meridien collapsed into receivership in 2003, and operation of Grosvenor House passed to Marriott.

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