Bill Gates has gained more control over the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as his investment firm Cascade has acquired a controlling interest for USD 2.21 Billion. The luxury hotel has announced that Cascade has increased its stake to 71.25 percent from 47,5 percent. As per the deal, Cascade Investments, a private investment firm founded by Gates, has purchased half of the stake belonging to Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The Saudi prince had collaborated with Gates in 2007 to take the luxury hotel chain and resort private for USD 3.4 billion. This is the first major deal of Gates since he split his fortune with ex-wife Melinda French.
Gates shared ownership of the hotel with the Saudi prince for more than a decade. But now Gates’ investment vehicle is increasing its stakes. The deal values Four Seasons at USD 10 billion. This is including the debt. According to Kingdom Holding Company of the Saudi Prince, it is hopeful of having a gain of USD 1.5 billion on 24 percent stake that it is selling to Gates’ investment firm. Four Seasons was founded by Isadore Sharp in the year 1960. Sharp would continue to have his 5 percent stake in Four Seasons, which now has over 120 hotels and resorts along with 46 residential properties in around 50 countries.
When Gates and Alwaleed bin Talal invested in the company, it was operating 74 hotels, which has now almost doubled. The hotel chain entered public markets in 1997. But the company decided to go private through a transaction under an agreement between Gates’ Cascade, the Saudi Prince’s KHG, and Sharp. Cascade is being looked after by Michael Larson who has a crucial role to play in bolstering the wealth of Gates couple over the year. It is because of Larson that the Gates couple could primarily focus on their philanthropic work. He is the one who is managing USD 50 billion endowments of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.