November 5, 2012
Four Seasons Hotel New York owner H. Ty Warner received a bid for his 368-room luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan for about $900 million from an unidentified Asian buyer, according to a person close to the situation.
The unsolicited bidder is probably affiliated with the government of Brunei, the kingdom located on the island of Borneo, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. If a deal is completed, the buyer would terminate the management contract held by Four Seasons Hotels Inc., the person said.
Warner, the Beanie Babies creator, would accept the $2.4 million a-room offer should Four Seasons decline to match the bid for the flagship hotel on East 57th Street, the person said. Four Seasons has to decide within a month, the person said.
The Brunei Investment Agency owns luxury hotel manager Dorchester Collection, which includes properties such as the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, its only two properties in the U.S., according to the hotelier’s website.
Sorya Gaulin, spokeswoman for Four Seasons, which only operates but doesn’t own its namesake hotels, declined to comment in an e-mail. Donna Snopek, chief financial officer of Ty Warner Hotels, didn’t immediately return a message outside normal business hours seeking comment. Officials for the government of Brunei couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The sale of the hotel, which Warner bought in 1999 for $275 million, would be one of the priciest in Manhattan. The most recent transaction in the area was Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc.’s (BEE) September purchase of the luxury Jumeirah Essex House, on Manhattan’s Central Park South, for $362.3 million. Rates at the Four Seasons for the week of Nov. 5 start at $995 a night, according to the hotel’s website.
Warner, through his Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, also owns the San Ysidro Ranch and Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, according to the company’s website.
The Wall Street Journal reported the unsolicited bid yesterday.