LOS ANGELES, March 16, 1998- Maritz, Wolff Co., a private investment fund based in Los Angeles and St. Louis that owns several of the world's finest hotels and resorts, confirmed today that it has reached agreement to buy a 50 percent interest in three Fairmont Hotels from the San Francisco-based Swig Company, as well as a 50 percent stake in Fairmont Management Co. Maritz, Wolff Chairman Lew Wolff said terms of the agreement would give the fund half ownership of the legendary Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco as well as the Fairmont Hotels in Dallas and New Orleans. The other 50 percent would continue to be owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Saud, who already owns the San Jose Fairmont in partnership with Maritz, Wolff and The Swig Company.
Maritz, Wolff also would acquire a 50 percent interest in Fairmont Management Co., which The Swig Company owns with the Prince. In addition to operating the Fairmonts in San Francisco, Dallas and New Orleans, Fairmont Management Co. manages four other properties: New York's famed Plaza Hotel, Copley Plaza in Boston, and Fairmont Hotels in Chicago and San Jose.
"Due to our San Jose relationship, we have come to know The Swig Company, the Fairmont Management Co. and the Prince," Wolff said. "We believe the partnership positions offered by The Swig Company enable us to add to our relationship with Prince Alwaleed and compliments our aim of building a top- tier hotel and brand-ownership portfolio."
Swig Company President Jeanne Myerson noted that Maritz, Wolff is the right buyer at the right time for these properties. "A key consideration for us in selling these assets was to find a buyer who would continue the careful stewardship of the hotels," Ms. Myerson said.
"Maritz, Wolff has a proven track record at improving values at the properties they own and manage and they are well respected for preserving the historical significance of the properties they acquire." Ms. Myerson added that Maritz, Wolff's existing relationships with The Swig Company (as a partner in the San Jose Fairmont) and with the Prince (in two hotel properties) "will lead to a seamless transition of ownership with little if any perceivable effect on the hotel's valued guests and employees."
"The San Francisco Fairmont is one of the city's great landmarks," commented Wolff. "In these days of widespread consolidation in the hotel industry, this agreement ensures that ownership of one of the city's most recognizable, full-service hotels -- and of the finest hotels in the country -- remains in dedicated and experienced hands and that the hotel maintains its historic link to local investors, assuring the continued prominence of The Fairmont in the city."
The Maritz, Wolff hotel collection includes all or part ownership of four Four Seasons hotels -- in Austin, Toronto, Carlsbad (Calif.) and Nevis Island in the Caribbean -- as well as the Four Seasons Biltmore, Santa Barbara (Calif). The investment fund also is majority owner of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in St. Louis. It is a 50-50 partner with the Hunt Family of Texas in The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Rosewood Management Company, which operates 11 other luxury hotels and resorts.
Maritz, Wolff President Philip "Flip" Maritz said, "Matthew DiNapoli, our executive vice president, is representing the fund in this exceptional opportunity." In addition to Wolff, Maritz, and DiNapoli, Lew Wolff said the fund's other investors include SPO Partners, a Mill Valley-based investment group whose principals include John II Scully, William E. Oberndorf, and William J. Patterson; The Fisher Family of San Francisco, led by John J. Fisher; and members of both Philip Maritz's St. Louis family and Lew Wolff's Los Angeles family.
Maritz, Wolff Co. is a hotel investment group that acquires full-service
urban and resort hotel properties and works directly with the hotel management
to enhance revenues and reduce costs. Founded in 1994 with the purchase
of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, today Maritz, Wolff has nearly $1 billion
worth of assets.