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Bill Gates' investment company becomes majority shareholder of Four Seasons Hotels

A subsidiary of Cascade Investment, the investment group controlled by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, plans to increase its stake to a majority ownership in the Canadian luxury hotel chain Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for over $2 billion.

As part of the transaction, Cascade will increase its current 47.5% stake to 71.25% by purchasing half of the current 47.5% stake held by an affiliate of its long-term investment partner, Prince and businessman Al-Walid bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), for $2.21 billion, valuing Four Seasons at an enterprise value of $10 billion. Isadore Sharp, founder and chairman of Four Seasons, will retain his 5% stake through Triples Holdings Limited.

As we mark our 60th anniversary and look back on the profound impact that Four Seasons has had on luxury hospitality we also look forward with tremendous excitement and confidence in the future of the industry

John Davison, CEO Four Seasons

The unwavering support and partnership of our shareholders has and continues to be critical as we capitalise on growing opportunities to serve luxury consumers worldwide.

Founded in 1960, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts now operates 121 hotels and resorts in 47 countries, as well as 46 residential properties. Isadore Sharp opened the Four Seasons Motor Hotel in 1961 in Toronto, Ontario, where the company is still based. The company went public in 1997 and was delisted in 2007 after Cascade Investments, KHC and Mr. Sharp took control. The investor group made a $3.8 billion offer.

KHC estimates, in a statement, to make a gain of 1.57 billion dollars on the sale of its shares. This is the first major transaction conducted by the investment company of Bill Gates, whose fortune is valued at $133 billion by Forbes magazine, since the completion of his divorce from Melinda French Gates.

KHC owns stakes in properties such as the George V in Paris and the Savoy Hotel in London and manages the Plaza in New York through Fairmont. KHC's hotel brands include the Four Seasons and the Accor Group (Fairmont, Raffles, Movenpick, Swissotel and Sofitel).

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