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Today's Hostile Take Over And Lawsuit Tale: Feuding Over Claridge's

November 14, 2012 at 9:48 AM | by | ()

Luxury hotels have a tendency to attract some scandale; if it isn’t the celebrity kind (hi Lindsay!), a good lawsuit will do. Even the Maybourne Hotel Group, a small collection of fa-fa-fancy London hotels including Claridge’s, the Connaught, and the Berkeley, isn’t immune.

The Guardian reports that the wealthy Barclays brothers are about to take control over the debt-laden group, amidst a flurry of legal battles, disputes, and general animosity. So what happened here?

Per the Guardian:

At the centre of the spat is Irish property tycoon Paddy McKillen, a usually low-profile investor best known for some hotel co-investments in Dublin with U2 band members Bono and The Edge. In 2004 he and fellow property speculator Derek Quinlan led a consortium of Irish investors who took on colossal loans to acquire the Savoy Group. The business comprised four of London's most prestigious five-star hotels: Claridge's, the Savoy, the Berkeley and the Connaught. After the quick sale of the Savoy, the business was renamed Maybourne; its holding company was Coroin.

Fast forward a number of years and Coroin is now not expected to meet its debt repayment of £660 million. This would put the Barclays brothers, owners of the Coroin loans, in the position to seize control of the group. Claims by McKillen that illegal means were used by the brothers to secure control have been dismissed in court.

Court submissions go right into the juicy details of heated arguments, swearing, and accusations from both parties (head over to the Guardian for more). Despite all the legal wrangling, so far it looks like the three hotels will inevitably pass to the Barclay brothers, who also own the Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly (famously seen in the movie Notting Hill).

We were assured that, this being a shareholder issue, there is no impact on the day-to-day operation of the hotels. We’ll have to wait and see whether new ownership will result in any changes at all for guests: perhaps the Ritz will be brought into the collection to bring it back to a total of four hotels? Time will tell.

Photo: Claridge’s

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