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Sahara bids for London’s Marriott hotels

world Updated: Jan 30, 2012 01:47 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

It’s a bit like playing a real-life version of the board game Monopoly — when Indians are involved, they take it seriously.

After snapping up Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane a year ago for £470 million (R3,275 crore), Subrata Roy, the billionaire owner of the Sahara India Pariwar, has reportedly made an offer for a bunch of Marriott hotels in London.

How much Roy has bid is not known but the “collection of Marriott hotels” is being offered by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for about £750m (R5,808 crore), the Sunday Times reported. There are thought to be 42 of them on offer.

For Roy, it looks like a bargain — in December 2010, he paid £470m for one hotel alone.

While the Marriott hotels don’t come with the snob value of the iconic Grosvenor House, there are some 10 of them dotted around in London, half of them located in the upscale Mayfair and Kensington areas.

Roy is said to be vying with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and another Indian investor, Blue Post Group, among others.

The bid is the latest display of deep Indian pockets to the financially straitened Europe.

Roy paid cash for Grosvenor House, in the process doing British taxpayers a favour.

The seller of Grosvenor House was also RBS, a troubled British bank that is now backed by British taxpayers after having to be bailed out by the government.