Four Seasons Hotels Receives Buyout Offer

Toronto -- Four Seasons Hotels today announced it has received an offer to take the publicly traded company private in a bid that values the luxury hotel chain at $3.7 billion.

Isadore Sharp, the company's chairman and chief executive, is leading the buyout effort along with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, of Saudi Arabia. Alwaleed is Four Seasons' biggest shareholder, owning about 22 percent of the company, according to the Bloomberg financial news service.

Under the buyout proposal, Sharp will remain at the helm of Four Seasons, which operates 71 properties globally and has more than 25 others in development. The company will also remain headquartered in Toronto.

"I am delighted, together with these exceptional investors, to have found what I believe is the best way to preserve and expand the long-term strategy, vision and core values of Four Seasons," Sharp said in a statement. He emphasized that the company will continue operating on its current course.

A buyout would enable Sharp to realize about $288 million related to a long-term incentive agreement.

If the board of directors favors the deal -- assumed to be the case -- the transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

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