Bill Gates takes controlling stake in Four Seasons hotel chain with $3bn deal

American business magnate, software developer, investor, author and philanthropist Bill Gates will become the majority owner of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts after doing a deal to increase his stake in the company.

Through his investment vehicle, Cascade Investment, Gates will increase his existing 47.5 per cent stake in the luxury hotel chain to 71.25 per cent by purchasing half of the existing 47.5 per cent stake owned by Kingdom Holding Company for US$2.21 billion ($3 billion).

The all-cash deal values Four Seasons at US$10 billion ($13.6 billion). Four Seasons founder and chairman Isadore Sharp will retain his five per cent stake in the hotel chain.

The sale is expected to close in January 2022, pending regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Cascade first invested in Four Seasons back in 1997 when the company was public.

Four Seasons CEO John Davison said: “As we mark our 60th anniversary and look back on the profound impact that Four Seasons has had on luxury hospitality, we also look forward with tremendous excitement and confidence in the future of the industry.

“The unwavering support and partnership of our shareholders has and continues to be critical as we capitalise on growing opportunities to serve luxury consumers worldwide.

“Our company is at yet another key moment in its storied history and the confidence of our shareholders in Four Seasons, and our strategic vision help position the iconic Four Seasons brand for continued success.”

Image source: iStock/architetta

Sharp founded Four Seasons in 1960, with the chain now managing 121 hotels and resorts, and 46 residential properties in 47 countries.

Four Seasons shareholders took the company private in 2007, which “expanded new opportunities for guests, residents, employees and hotel owner partners worldwide”, according to the press statement.

Featured image source: Wikimedia Commons/World Economic Forum