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Qatar investment arm buys luxury Italian hotel group from Colony Capital

17 Apr 2012

Qatar’s sovereign wealth arm has continued to diversify its investments by purchasing luxury hotel owner Smerelda Holding from Colony Capital.

The Qatar Investment Authority picked up four hotels on the Italian island of Sardinia as part of the deal, which was made through subsidiary Qatar Holding.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will continue to run the hotels following the QIA purchase.

Qatar Holding managing director and CEO Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed said, “We are happy to have agreed terms for the acquisition of this established portfolio of luxury assets in Sardinia.

“We intend to continue supporting the on-going development programme which will see Costa Smeralda strengthen its position as a top luxury resort destination.”

Tom Barrack, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital, said, “I have said before that Costa Smeralda is for no one to own – it owns you.

“Our job was to leave it better than when we found it. We are now fortunate enough to transition this stewardship to the best, most respected, qualified and nurturing caretaker on the globe today in our partners at Qatar Holding.

“Their increased investment is a huge vote of confidence for Italy, Sardinia, Costa Smeralda and all of its peoples.”

The QIA purchase is part of a continuing effort to spread its assets away from a reliance on oil, which has seen it make a string of diverse deals since the turn of the year.

The fund became the third largest investor in mining giant Xstrata last month ahead of a planned takeover by Glencore, extending its stake to five per cent.

It has also bought French top-flight football team Paris Saint-Germain, who have won just two of seven matches since the takeover, luxury brands seller LVMH and oil company Total.

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