Zabeel Investments has acquired a 50 per cent stake in a Las Vegas hospitality company as part of wider plans to move into the United States entertainment sector.
The Dubai company’s joint venture with The Light Group will be the first of a number of investments in the US, according to Zabeel Investments’ Executive Chairman, Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi. The value of the stake was not disclosed.
“We’re looking at the [US] entertainment and hospitality sectors. There are great deals on offer that we would not have been able to get three years ago,” Al Hashimi (pictured above, right) told Emirates Business.
“We intend to support The Light Group as it continues to expand its hotel management, food and beverage, and entertainment portfolio into key US cities.” Zabeel and The Light Group will also work on a number of “high-end” hospitality projects in the Emirates and wider Middle East, said Al Hashimi. “Our plan is to look at opportunities in Dubai. We see potential in both the hospitality and the food and beverage side.
“We feel that this industry in the UAE and region has great potential for expansion,” he said.
Negotiations between Zabeel and The Light Group, which was founded by Andrew Sasson (pictured above, left), began at the beginning of November, and were not derailed by the fallout from the sub-prime crisis and fears of a US recession.
“I still think there may be a further trough [in the US]. But in the long run I still see a very strong economy. Anything that we’re getting into is based on the long-term; we see there’s great opportunity in this part of the world,” said Al Hashimi.
The deal strengthens the Dubai’s existing business ties in Las Vegas. State-owned conglomerate Dubai World holds a significant stake in MGM Mirage, which is behind the $7 billion (Dh25.6bn) mixed-use CityCentre development in Vegas. The Light Group will manage The Harmon Hotel, which is owned and under development by CityCentre Holdings.
Zabeel Investments was launched in February 2006, and handles Dh15bn of development projects, including the Tiara Residence on Palm Jumeirah, the Tiara United Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road and America Hotels and Resorts in Tatweer’s Dh200bn Bawadi development. It holds stakes in a number of international companies, including EADS and Sony Corporation.
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