|By Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New DelhiMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News |
Nov. 15, 2010--LONDON -- One more iconic British brand will soon be taken over by an Indian firm. Grosvenor House, the upscale London hotel frequented by royals and global industrialists, is about to be sold to Sahara India Parivar.
Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to sell the hotel to billionaire businessman Subrata Roy's group for the "knock-down price" of Â£470 million (R3,000 crore), The Sunday Times reported. The bank had reportedly hoped to swing a Â£700 million (R4,260 crore) deal but lowered its sights after two failed auctions.
Grosvenor House (pronounced Grove-ner), located in the tony Mayfair district, is among a clutch of hotels that are instantly recognised by their brand names across the world.
The hotel, which opened in 1929, was the official venue for the gala celebrations of India's 50th anniversary of independence in 1997. It remains a huge favourite with wealthy Non-Resident Indians.
Sahara, which is understood to have put down a deposit on the property, joins the swelling ranks of Indian-owned firms that have acquired five star hotels in central London. These include the Washington Mayfair, owned by NRI businessman Joginder Sanghar, the Radisson Mayfair of Jasminder Singh and the Crowne Plaza-St James Court, which belongs to the Taj Group.
Sanghar, who snapped up the Washington Mayfair in 1996 for less than Â£50 million, said: "There was a time when we Indians would buy two or three star hotels but now we have moved up the chain. The Grosvenor is everybody's dream property."
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