| LONDON, March 28
LONDON, March 28 Qatari-backed investor
Constellation Hotels has bought the InterContinental London Park
Lane hotel in a deal worth about 400 million pounds ($605
million), a source close to the transaction told Reuters.
Constellation paid 301.5 million pounds ($456 million) for
InterContinental Hotel Group's (IHG) 57-year lease on the
447-bedroom property close to Hyde Park, IHG said on Thursday.
In a separate deal, Constellation paid about 100 million
pounds for the freehold, which was owned by the Crown Estate,
the property company that controls the assets of Queen Elizabeth
II, the source said.
The 301.5 million pound price tag is 62 percent above the
hotel's book value, showing the strength of demand for trophy
London real estate and five-star hotels in particular.
There were about six bidders for the IHG property, said
George Nicholas at selling agent Jones Lang LaSalle.
"They included sovereign wealth funds and private investors from
Asia and the Middle East. Five-star London hotels rarely come to
market," he said.
Overseas investors have parked billions of pounds in London
real estate during the global financial crisis, drawn to the
relative safety of investing in the city's best properties.
Qatar has been particularly active, investing in the Shard
skyscraper, Harrods department store and athlete's village in
the Olympic Park in east London.
The 3.5 billion euros it spent on European real estate in
the 12 months to mid-August 2012 was the equivalent of six
weeks' revenue from the country's liquefied natural gas exports,
according to Reuters calculations.