Bill Gates-backed investment fund raises stake in Four Seasons

An investment fund backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates completed a deal this month to acquire a majority stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for more than $2 billion.

An affiliate of longstanding shareholder Cascade Investment increased its shareholding in the luxury hospitality company by purchasing part of a stake held by investment partner, Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).

The deal, first flagged in September, sees Cascade raise its 47.5% shareholding in Four Seasons to 71.25%.

KHC retains a 23.75% stake in Four Seasons and remains “strongly dedicated to the company’s considerable opportunities,” the hotel company said.

Four Seasons added: “The transaction marks a pivotal point for the company, further demonstrating Cascade’s commitment to provide Four Seasons with resources to accelerate growth, support the company’s properties and owners and expand its strategic goals.

“Despite industry-wide challenges caused by the pandemic, Four Seasons outlook for 2022 builds upon the success of the past year, including the addition of highly anticipated new hotels, resorts and residences in key markets, and the extension of its standalone residential collection with new properties opening last year in Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

The Toronto-Based company continues to accelerate expansion plans worldwide with four openings planned for 2022, including new developments in Tamarindo, Mexico; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Properties were opened last year in Napa Valley, California; New Orleans  and Taormina in Italy (pictured).

Four Seasons has more than 50 new projects under planning or development, including in Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Colombia, Belize and across key markets in the US, all of which will add to the company’s existing portfolio of 122 hotels and resorts and 48 residential properties in 47 countries.

President and chief executive John Davison said: “2022 marks an important moment in the evolution of Four Seasons as we sharpen our development focus in key markets, strengthen our leadership position as an iconic luxury brand and capitalise on new opportunities that will continue to drive and diversify our growth.

“Realising these opportunities means investing in our greatest competitive advantage – our people.

“For more than 60 years, the strength of Four Seasons has been grounded in our unmatched commitment to service excellence. As we grow with intention, so too do the opportunities for our people, ensuring we create an environment in which they can flourish.”

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