Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, has purchased a majority interest in the Mandarin Oriental in New York City for slightly over $98 million.
The hotel’s parent company, a Cayman Islands-based firm controlled by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, was acquired by Ambani’s conglomerate, Reliance Industries, on Saturday. The property is indirectly owned by that corporation, which owns 73.4 percent of it.
By the end of March, the deal should be completed. If the hotel’s other owners chose to sell their interests as well, Reliance said it would intend to buy the remaining portion at the same price.
The building was taken acquired by the Dubai Investment Corporation in 2015.
The $98.2 million price tag is a substantial savings: According to a 2007 shareholder report from the Mandarin Oriental, the property was worth up to $340 million.
The Covid-19 outbreak impacted Mandarin Oriental hard, as it did numerous hotels. Reliance said in a stock exchange report on Saturday that the New York hotel only made $15 million in 2020, compared to $115 million and $113 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Ambani’s sprawling conglomerate is best known for its energy, retail, and technology businesses, but it said in its filing that it wanted to expand its “consumer and hospitality footprint,” which already includes a small but growing list of luxury properties in India, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
Reliance now owns Oberoi Hotels, a chain of five-star resorts spread across India and six other countries, as well as Stoke Park, a well-known English country club.
Throughout the pandemic, Ambani has been on a deal-making binge, amassing tens of billions of dollars in the process of transforming Reliance into the next global digital behemoth.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, his personal wealth has risen to $92.9 billion in recent months, making him India’s richest man and the world’s eleventh wealthiest person.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)