Reliance to acquire Mandarin Oriental’s flagship NYC property (Ld)

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India’s largest corporate by revenues, profits and market value, has announced the acquisition of Mandarin Oriental Hotels flagship New York City property in Columbus Circle for an “equity consideration of approximately $98.15 million”.

This is the latest addition to RIL’s acquisitions worth $5.6 billion across eight verticals (Morgan Stanley aggregation a day before the Mandarin Oriental deal).

Located at 80, Columbus Circle, Mandarin Oriental’s New York property is on the corner of Central Park, New York City’s largest green space. Its rooms overlook the Hudson River and are steps away from the Broadway Theater District, Lincoln Center, Central Park and about 20 minutes by foot from Times Square.

Mandarin Oriental operates 35 hotels and seven residences in 24 countries, including six hotels in the United States.

The Reliance buyout of Mandarin Oriental’s New York property is expected to close by March 2022, according to a company disclosure to stock exchanges dated January 8.

The Mandarin Oriental brand counts Irish born actor of ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Taken’ fame Liam Neeson among its fans.

“Certain hotels get it; they get my industry. A lot of hotels don’t. The Mandarin Oriental gets it,” Neeson says in one of the 47 short videos from the hotel’s ‘I’m a Fan’ series on its social channels.

The latest New York deal is RIL’s second one in the luxury hospitality sector in two consecutive years. In 2021, RIL bought Stoke Park Ltd — a 300-acre setting for two James Bond films — for $79 million. Stoke Park, the first country club in the UK, is a private sporting and leisure estate in Buckinghamshire, a county in South East England.

Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, also holds 18.53 per cent stake in Oberoi group’s EIH Ltd.

A Morgan Stanley research note on ‘What is RIL Buying’ released on January 7 shows RIL’s deal values across eight verticals totalling $5.69 billion. Telco leads ($2,508 mn), followed by new energy ($1,327 mn), retail ($629 mn), media and education ($688 mn), chemicals ($187 mn), digital ($111 mn), and hospitality ($79 mn).

The note was prepared before the Mandarin Hotel acquisition was announced.

Last week, RIL’s retail arm invested $200 million for a 25.8 per cent stake in Indian online delivery platform Dunzo, which operates across multiple industry verticals and provides hyperlocal delivery of products within 15-20 minutes.

(Nikhila Natarajan tweets @byniknat)

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