NEW YORK Aug 17 The Sultan of Brunei has made a
bid for New York's Plaza Hotel, Dream Hotel and London's
Grosvenor House hotel, the Wall Street Journal's website edition
reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the situation.
An investment firm affiliated with Brunei has offered to pay
$2 billion for the three hotels, which are currently owned by
India's Sahara conglomerate, WSJ.com said.
Sahara's chairman Subrata Roy has been negotiating a sale of
the company's luxury hotels from a makeshift office in prison,
having been held for more than five months after failing to
appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running dispute over his
group's failure to repay billions of dollars to investors who
were sold outlawed bonds.
Roy's lawyer S. Ganesh last week told India's Supreme Court
that the businessman was holding "very effective" negotiations
with potential buyers and that the group had signed a
preliminary accord for the hotels.
Brunei officials have reportedly been in discussions
throughout the summer with representatives of Sahara, WSJ.com
said, citing its sources, adding that an agreement could be
reached as early as next month.
The Sultan, along with his luxury hotel operator, the
Dorchester Collection, has been criticised for harsh new laws in
The laws, which include death by stoning for homosexuals and
adulterers, have fueled public calls in the United States for
the company to sell its properties. They have resulted in
boycotts of the Beverly Hills Hotel and other Dorchester
properties in Europe, costing the luxury hotel operator millions
of dollars in lost revenue, Dorchester has said.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by David