Thursday, 8 November 2007

Moscow hotel may be target of €175m Quinn bid

Irish Independent

By Jason Corcoran

Monday November 05 2007

Ireland's richest man Sean Quinn is rumoured to be lining up a $250m (€175m) bid for one of Moscow's most famous hotels, the Radisson SAS Slavyanskaya.

Mr Quinn is the most prominent Irish investor in Russia having spent an estimated €250m on two shopping malls, €100m on a DIY chain and €75m on a logistics park there.

Quinn group's property division already owns nine hotels across Europe.

Correspondence from Quinn's advisers Dolmen Corporate Finance -- indicating the group's interest in acquiring 100pc of the hotel -- was cited by Russian business newspaper Kommersant, in a recent report to the effect that Quinn had asked the hotel's owners to start due diligence procedures.

"We are aware of the rumours circulating in Moscow, but are not going to comment," said Kevin Beary, head of corporate finance at Dolmen. "We do not discuss client business."

A spokesman for Quinn group also declined to comment.

Overlooking the Moscow river, the four-star Slavyanskaya hotel and business Centre is connected to the busy Arbat shopping street by a footbridge and is located about two kilometres from the Kremlin.

The hotel complex includes a shopping gallery with bars, restaurants, designer shops, hairdressing and beauty salons, gifts and jewellery shops. It also features a fitness centre, a casino and a cinema showing English-language films.

The hotel, which is jointly owned by the Moscowcity government and the Swedish hotel and resort operator SAS Radisson, has a colourful history.

In 1990, Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev blessed the 430-room tower as a shining example of the role US-Soviet joint ventures could play in Russia's new era of perestroika.

But the hotel fell under the influence of Chechen businessmen and became known as the 'Chechenskaya' for its links to Moscow's mafia.

The American entrepreneur Paul Tatum, who was the joint owner, reportedly refused to sell his share in the hotel to his partner and was gunned down outside the premises in November 1996.

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