PARIS (Reuters) - A French court has ruled that Saudi-backed JJW Hotels & Resorts will have to pay 100 million euros ($133.7 million) to Starwood Capital to settle a dispute involving the sale of Le Crillon, one of the world’s landmark hotels.
The U.S. investment group said in a statement on Friday that its Societe du Louvre and Groupe du Louvre units now “will be able to continue reviewing various signs of interest shown in the last months for some of their high-end luxury hotels.”
It said the units were “very satisfied” with the ruling.
JJW lawyer Maurice Lantourne told Reuters by phone his client would appeal the ruling.
The Paris Commerce Court ruling is the latest episode in a long-running legal saga over the aborted sale by Starwood Capital of several French luxury hotels, including Le Crillon, to JJW for a reported 1.5 billion euros.
In March 2008, Starwood and JJW entered exclusive talks.
JJW agreed to pay a 150 mln euros exclusivity deposit but gave only 50 million and in March 2009 Starwood canceled its agreement with JJW. It later launched a legal proceedings to recoup the rest of the deposit.
On April 8, the Paris Commerce Court ruled that JJW had breached its contractual obligations, leading Starwood to cancel its agreement with JJW, and JJW would have to pay the 100 million euros claimed by Starwood.
Starwood Capital took on Le Crillon as part of its acquisition of Taittinger’s hotel and champagne empire in 2005.
The venue, built in 1758 as a government building after being commissioned by Louis XV, is located near the Champs Elysées on Place de la Concorde.
In January 2010, Barry Sternlicht, the Chief Executive of Starwood Capital, told Les Echos newspaper that his group could still part with some of its high-end luxury hotels, including Le Crillon, but was under no pressure to sell assets, having recently refinanced its debt.
Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Rupert Winchester