Last month, Bloomberg reported that Strategic Hotels & Resorts—a high-end hotel chain whose properties include a Ritz Carlton in California, the Essex House in Manhattan, and the Fairmont in downtown Chicago—was exploring the possibility of a sale and had even hired a bank to seek out potential buyers.
A regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has disclosed that since early March, Bill Gates’ holding and investment company, Cascade Investment, has spent over $21.5 million, and bought $1.7 million shares of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, increasing the firm’s stake in the company to 9.8%. (Cascade is said to be the second biggest shareholder.) Considering that Strategic is in the market for a sale and is said to be actively seeking out potential suitors, Gates (via Cascade Investment) has indicated an interest in acquiring the hotel chain.
According to the SEC filing, Cascade will be approaching the hotel company about “exploring strategic alternatives,” including the possibility of “being party to a transaction involving the acquisition of the issuer,” the “issuer” being Strategic Hotels & Resorts. The chairman and CEO of Strategic, Raymond Gellein, has since stated that they are aware of Cascade’s filing and that they are “always open and available to speak with all of our shareholders.”
While this may very well lead to discussions between Gates’ Cascade Investment and Strategic Hotels & Resorts, there is no guarantee that a transaction will actually go through.
This has arguably been a profitable year for Bill Gates. In addition to a possible new acquisition, the 59-year-old business magnate secured his position as the wealthiest man in the world and, not surprisingly, he recently topped Forbes’ list of the world’s “100 Richest Tech Billionaires” with a formidable net worth of $79.6 billion, thanks mostly in part to founding Microsoft.
Brandt, N., “Gates’s Cascade Signals Potential Strategic Hotels Talks,” Bloomberg web site, August 10, 2015; http://goo.gl/b64N5F.
Gallun, A., “Could Bill Gates be the next owner of Strategic Hotels?” Chicago Tribune web site, August 10, 2015; http://goo.gl/Nyye7q.
Dolan, K.A., “The 100 Richest Tech Billionaires From Around The Globe,” Forbes web site, August 5, 2015; http://goo.gl/Xv3Ocj.