Bill Gates expands Four Seasons stake in $2.2bn deal with Saudi Prince Alwaleed

Bill Gates’ investment firm has acquired a stake in the Four Seasons hotel chain from Saudi Arabia Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The Microsoft founder’s firm, Cascade Investment LLC, will pay $2.2 billion, bringing his stake to 71.25 per cent from 47.5 per cent, according to a statement.

The transaction means the Canadian company has an overall enterprise value of $10 billion, Four Seasons said in a statement.

This would make Gates a major shareholder in the luxury hotel chain, with the industry hoping that with the global vaccination programme, people will go back to traveling.

Gates and Prince Alwaleed have known each other for many years and the tech magnate supported the prince after his cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accused him of corruption.

Kingdom Holding continues to hold 23.75 per cent of the hotel chain, and the deal will reportedly be completed in January 2022.

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.

Alwaleed was released from detention in 2018, and shortly after invested some $270 million in music streaming service Deezer, and in February, sold a stake in his Rotana Music label to Warner Music Group Corp.

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