Saudi wealth fund PIF to acquire 49% stake in Rocco Forte

Saudi wealth fund PIF to acquire 49% stake in Rocco Forte

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PIF to acquire 49% stake in Rocco Forte

Image courtesy: Leon Neal/ Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Rocco Forte Hotels, a deal that is expected to accelerate the hospitality group’s expansion in both existing and new global markets.

The wealth fund’s investment will include an element of primary equity.

“Our investment in Rocco Forte Hotels reflects PIF’s confidence in both the commercial opportunity and strength of the international hospitality and tourism industries that have shown remarkable resilience in recent years,” said Turqi Al Nowaiser, deputy governor and head of the International Investments Division at PIF.

“As active long-term investors, PIF will continue to invest strategically in promising sectors to achieve sustainable returns globally.”

The Forte family will retain majority ownership and control as part of the deal while the Italian investor CDPE Investimenti will sell its entire shareholding.

Under the deal, Sir Rocco Forte will remain executive chairman and Olga Polizzi will continue as deputy chairman while Charles Forte, Lydia Forte and Irene Forte will continue to hold key roles in the business, Rocco Forte Hotels said in a statement.

Founded in 1996, Rocco Forte Hotels operates across Italy, Britain, Germany, Belgium and Russia and has 14 hotels and resorts including Brown’s in London and the Balmoral in Edinburgh as well as 20 private villas.

The hotel group is set to open three hotels in the next two years in Italy – two in Milan and one in Sardinia.

The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

PIF’s vast portfolio

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is investing in a broad range of sectors as part of its Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy that seeks to wean the kingdom off its heavy reliance on oil revenues. Over the years, PIF has launched 87 companies while creating more than half a million direct and indirect jobs.

has been creating companies across a wide range of industries as it takes on an increasingly assertive role in diversifying the domestic economy away from oil.

PIF struck a share purchase agreement in November to acquire a 10 per cent stake in FGP TopCo, the holding company of Heathrow Airport Holdings, from Ferrovial.

The fund said its investment in Heathrow, a world-class airport and a key gateway to the world, is in line with its strategy to support the business as a long-term partner.

Saudi Arabia’s $700bn wealth fund owns stakes in tech companies such as ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies, soccer teams including English Premier League’s Newcastle United, electric carmakers Lucid and Ceer and is funding a host of new cities in the desert such as the $500bn futuristic NEOM City and the Red Sea Development Company’s mega tourism project.

Read: Saudi Arabia’s PIF secures $5bn loan covered by K-SURE

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