Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has gone on a post-divorce shopping spree, and has reportedly bought controlling interests in the luxury hotel group Four Seasons through his holdings firm, Cascade Investment. This comes barely a month after he finally ended things with long-term partner Melinda French Gates.
The biz tycoon and billionaire was years ago dubbed a “hard-partying womanizer,” before he had married his now former wife. So the shopping spree is not really too out of a character, albeit a little surprising after so many years.
Stakes Over 71 Percent
Gates has reportedly bought controlling interest in the Four Seasons for a whopping sum of $2.21 billion, taking over 24 percent of the stake from Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a longtime business partner of his. His stakes prior to the acquisition had stood at 47.5 percent, and are now up to 71.25 percent.
The deal has not been closed yet, and is still subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions. But things are expected to be finalized by the first quarter of 2022.
Gates has also stepped down from his post on Microsoft’s board, claiming that he now wishes to spend a greater portion of his time on “philanthropic activities. We don’t, as yet, know what exactly he means bu that.
No official statement has yet been released by either of the parties regarding the takeover.
A Long Partnership
The Microsoft co-founder had first invested in Four Seasons back in 1997, when the hotel and resort chain was publicly traded. He later teamed up with the Saudi Arabian Prince to convert the hotel into a private firm, some ten years later.
Alwaleed’s company, Kingdom Holding, will continue to retain around 24 percent of the stakes, with Isadore Sharp, the Chairperson at Four Seasons, holding the remaining 5 percent.
Back in 2007, Four Seasons had some 74 hotels functional. The numbers have since risen to 121, along with 46 luxury residencies, coupled with 50 other projects in the tube. The new deal would value the chain at $10 billion.
Recovering From The Worst Year
This comes even as hotels are trying to recover from what has been their worst year so far, with travel going going an all-time dip thanks to the pandemic. Still, businesspersons remain hopeful, and Gates isn’t the only one to be investing. Luxury hotel chain Hyatt recently bought Apple Leisure Group, a resort manager. Meanwhile, IHG, the owners of Holiday Inn, have also announced a “luxury and lifestyle” hotel collection.