Saudi wealth fund, GIC said to eye stake in Accor’s property unit

Photo: AccorHotels website

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is in talks to buy a 15 percent stake in Accor SA’s property business in a transaction that could value the unit at about 6.2 billion euros ($7.64 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

Public Investment Fund, known as PIF, is buying a stake alongside Singapore’s state-owned GIC Pte, French asset manager Amundi SA and U.S. real estate investment trust Colony NorthStar Inc., the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The group jointly aims to buy a majority stake in the AccorInvest business, though it wasn’t immediately clear how much PIF’s partners would each hold, they said.

While discussions are in advanced stages, there’s no guarantee that an agreement will be reached, the people said. Representatives for PIF, GIC and Amundi declined to comment. Spokesmen for Colony NorthStar couldn’t immediately be reached outside U.S. business hours.

“Discussions are ongoing with tier-one French and international investors,” Accor said in a statement on Wednesday while reporting 2017 earnings. “They are now in their final stages.” A spokesman for the company declined to comment further.

U.K. property magazine Estates Gazette reported last year that Accor was in talks to sell the unit to the consortium. The hotel chain will remain the largest shareholder in a deal, which is likely to be announced by the end of February, the Financial Times reported this month.

Accor, Europe’s biggest hotel operator, is selling some assets in developed markets as it seeks to expand in emerging economies and acquire new brands.

PIF seeks to become the world’s largest sovereign fund as the Saudi kingdom diversifies its economy away from oil under a plan known as Vision 2030. The sale of about 5 percent in Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is expected to provide more funds for PIF’s investments. Last year, the investment vehicle hired the head of Qatar Investment Authority’s real estate arm, Greg Bankhurst, as chief development officer, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.