Four Seasons Toronto Deal Sets Canadian Hospitality Record

The $171 million sale marks the highest single-asset price per room transaction in Canadian history.

By Gail Kalinoski

Four Seasons Toronto
Four Seasons Toronto

Toronto—The sale of the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto for C$225 million, or about US $171 million, has set a record for the highest single-asset price per room transaction in Canadian history. The hotel was purchased by Shahid Khan, who is expanding his international sports and business holdings to include hospitality, from Kingdom Holding Co.

Khan, who is the owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and London’s Fulham Football Club, as well as the founder of Urbana, Ill.-based Flex-N-Gate Group, bought the four-year-old, 259-key hotel in downtown Toronto through various family holdings.

JLL arranged the sale on behalf of KHC with senior vice presidents Mark Sparrow and Luke Scheer leading the team on the transaction, with international marketing support led by JLL America’s CEO Arthur Adler and Global Hotel Desk Leader Gilda Perez-Alvarado.

“The size of this transaction exemplifies the strength of the Canadian lodging market, with Toronto, as an international gateway market, experiencing particularly strong hotel fundamentals and global interest,” Sparrow said in a statement.

KHC, founded and chaired by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owns a 47.5 percent stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which will continue to manage the hotel in Toronto’s Yorkville section. A leading luxury hospitality company, Four Seasons’ other stakeholders are Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment (47.5 percent) and company founder Issy Sharp, who owns five percent.

“This transaction marks yet another success for KHC’s value realization strategy from our high-quality hospitality investments,” Alwaleed said in a prepared statement. “We are particularly glad to be passing ownership of this property to Shahid Khan who is known for his passion for the Four Seasons brand.”

Khan, whose automotive parts company operates 11 plants in Ontario, Canada, said he fell in love with Toronto many years ago after traveling there on business.

“Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is at the heart of what makes Toronto a world-class destination,” said Khan, who described his admiration and respect for the brand as “deep and immense.”

“The importance and prestige associated with Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is something that I fully appreciate and, in fact, inspired me to explore whether this dream had the potential of becoming a reality,” he said in a prepared statement.

Reuters reported the sale came as the weak Canadian dollar is attracting more foreign investors to seek assets in Canada, including real estate.

“The property’s prominent location and proximity to Four Seasons’ global headquarters generated a depth of international investor interest,” JLL’s Sparrow noted.

The hotel, which opened in 2012, features an award-winning Café Boulud restaurant and a 30,000-square-foot spa. It lies within walking distance of the city’s most desirable retail, restaurants, art galleries and museums.

In addition to maintaining its stake in the Four Seasons hotel management company, KHC also has major interests in AccorHotels and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Its hospitality portfolio also includes the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, The Plaza in New York City, The Savoy in London and other assets across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Image courtesy of Four Seasons