A Qatari sheikh, whose son is fronting a bid for Manchester United Football Club, is mulling the sale of two luxury houses in London’s most exclusive districts with a combined asking price of £370 million ($470 million).
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani is potentially planning to sell a triplex penthouse at the One Hyde Park project in London’s upscale Knightsbridge district for about £220 million, as well as a property he owns nearby at Belgrave Square for about £150 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Sheikh Hamad may decide against a sale if offers fall short of the asking price, the people said. Efforts to reach the royal for comment through his private investment firm Al Mirqab Capital and several family members were unsuccessful.
The former head of the Qatar Investment Authority and an ex-prime minister of the emirate is one of the most high-profile investors in the Middle East and one of the key shareholders at German lender Deutsche Bank AG. During his tenure at QIA, the sovereign wealth fund amassed stakes in some of the most prestigious European companies, including stakes in commodities trader Glencore Plc, British lender Barclays Plc and luxury department store Harrods.
A friend of King Charles, Sheikh Hamad was once dubbed the “man who bought London” by the British media after overseeing such a dramatic expansion of Qatari interests in the UK capital since the turn of the millennium.
The potential sale of some of Sheikh Hamad’s luxury London portfolio comes after the billionaire bought and refurbished the six-story Forbes House, which sits a few minutes walk from Buckingham Palace.
The discreet nature of London’s ultra-prime housing market means agents typically sound out prospective buyers through their private network, often over WhatsApp. This allows sellers to experiment with pricing without leaving a digital footprint, meaning they won’t be at a disadvantage if they choose to re-market at a later date.
London’s luxury housing market has come under pressure this year, as high financing costs force the city’s wealthiest home sellers to agree to discounts or risk deals falling through. The number of £5 million-plus deals collapsing rose 15% between January and July, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to a report by researcher LonRes.
Still, the less debt-reliant nature of London’s luxury housing market means the costliest home sales are holding up better than cheaper deals. Some 17% of ultra-high-net-worth individuals bought at least one home last year, according to a separate report from broker Knight Frank, and the wealthiest home owners are still securing deals.
Indian billionaire Ravi Ruia bought a £113 million London mansion overlooking Regent’s Park last month, in one of London’s biggest residential deals in recent years. Just west of the city, business tycoon Mike Jatania is looking to sell a 12-bedroom mansion, which was formerly rented by American banker J. P. Morgan, in what would be one of the nation’s largest ever country house sales.
Savills Plc, a high-end luxury estate agent, is working with the sheikh on the possible sale of both the properties, the people said. The penthouse overlooking Hyde Park was developed by the billionaire in a joint venture with CPC Group, a company owned by Christian Candy. It adjoins the Mandarin Oriental hotel and is a five-minute walk from Harrods. Savills declined to comment.
Becky Fatemi, the super prime broker who founded Rokstone, is also working with the royal on the sale of the property on Belgrave Square which was designed by architect George Basevi in the 19th century. Fatemi didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Source from: Bloomberg