Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC is taking control of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts by buying about half of Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s stake for $2.21 billion, the hotel operator said on Wednesday.
Cascade will acquire half of the billionaire prince’s stake in Four Seasons, raising its ownership to 71.3% and valuing the hotel chain at $10 billion on an enterprise basis.
Founded in 1960 by Isadore Sharp, Four Seasons now has 121 hotels and resorts, and 46 residential properties in 47 countries.
The company entered public markets in 1997 but undertook a transaction to go private in 2007 under an agreement between Cascade, KHC and Sharp, who now holds five percent of the company.
Cascade declined to comment beyond the press release. The firm first invested in Four Seasons in 1997.
Gates has been in the spotlight after he and Melinda French Gates announced in May they were divorcing after 27 years.
After announcing their divorce, Cascade transferred about $6bn worth of stocks, including shares of consumer group Coca-Cola, railway giant Canadian National and manufacturer John Deere, to Melinda French Gates as part of a financial settlement.
Michael Larson, who runs Cascade, has played a crucial role in bolstering the wealth of Gates and French Gates over the years, allowing the two to focus primarily on their philanthropic endeavours. Larson also manages the $50bn endowment of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates has been under scrutiny over his association with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors.
Gates described his ties with Epstein as a “huge mistake” in an August interview with CNN.