Plaza Hotel’s $600 Million Deal May Go Forward With New Buyers

(Bloomberg) -- Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. have exercised a right of first refusal to match a $600 million offer for New York’s Plaza Hotel, in a move that would scuttle another group’s agreement to buy the property, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Ashkenazy and Kingdom have less than two weeks to come up with a deposit and proof of funds for the total or their deal will be canceled, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details of the deal are private. A cancellation would reinstate the earlier agreement, signed by Shahal Khan and Kamran Hakim, the person said.

Ashkenazy, led by billionaire founder Ben Ashkenazy and Vice Chairman Michael Alpert, acquired a minority stake in the chateau-style hotel and the right to buy the property last May. Last week, Khan, founder of Dubai-based family office White City Ventures, confirmed that he had an agreement to acquire the hotel along with Hakim, of New York landlord Hakim Organization. They agreed to pay $600 million for the hotel in a deal that was set to be completed on June 25, and talked up plans to use the hotel to launch a global brand.

Majority owner Sahara India Pariwar has been trying to sell its stake, in part because its chairman, Subrata Roy, is under pressure from the Indian government, which has ordered him to return billions of dollars to investors.

Representatives of Ashkenazy Acquisition, Kingdom Holding, White City Ventures and the Hakim Organization didn’t respond to requests for comment. Jeff Davis, an international director at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. and the broker representing Sahara, declined to comment on the latest development. The exercise of the option was reported earlier Tuesday by the New York Post.

The rapid reversal marks the latest twist in the Plaza’s history. The hotel opened 111 years ago and is known as the home of the children’s-book character Eloise. Among its prior owners is President Donald Trump, who was forced to sell it more than two decades ago as part of a bankruptcy. He also married his second wife, Marla Maples, there.

A previous owner, Elad Group, controlled by Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, converted part of the Plaza to condominiums. The hotel portion is managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a unit of France’s Accor SA.

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