|By Reeba Zachariah, The Times of India
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Oct. 18, 2005 - MUMBAI, India -- After US, the Taj group of hotels is checking into Australia. The country's largest hospitality chain has bid for iconic W Sydney Hotels located in Woolloomooloo.
Owned by the Hong Kong-based Harilela group, the 104-room hotel is currently managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. It is expected that the hotel, which overlooks the Sydney harbour, would fetch a price of $35 million. The Harilela group had acquired the boutique hotel in 1999. Jones Lang LaSalle hotels is the advisor for the deal.
If Taj clinches the deal, it would be a blow to Starwood, as it was its first W hotel outside North America. India's second largest industrial house already has a presence in Australia.
Tata Steel has acquired equity interest in coal mines, while Tata Consultancy Services has a development centre in Melbourne. And so could one sip a Tetley tea there.
Taj's move is a part of its strategy to spread businesses globally. The Indian Hotels Company, which owns and manages Taj hotels, resorts and palaces, is the largest chain in south Asia with 55 hotels in India and 14 abroad.
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