Hong Kong tycoon Kadoorie to boost stake in Peninsula hotel operator for US$337 million, triggering a record stock rally

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Billionaire, Kadoorie family

Billionaire Michael Kadoorie is paying almost double the market price to boost his family’s stake in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels that owns the Peninsula hotel in the city. The stock surged by the most in more than two decades.

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The family has agreed to buy 205.3 million shares from asset management group Seekers Capital Partners and other undisclosed sellers for HK$2.63 billion (US$337.5 million) or HK$12.80 per share, according to an exchange filing on Monday. The purchase will raise the family’s ownership in the hotel operator to 72.4 per cent from just under 60 per cent.

The transaction is conditional on getting a waiver from the Securities and Futures Commission from making a takeover offer for the rest of the company by March 31, unless extended by both parties.

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Billionaire, Kadoorie family

Michael Kadoorie and son Philip photographed in Central, Hong Kong, in April 2021. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

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The stock surged 17.3 per cent to HK$7.80 as of 3.25pm local time, the most since a 21.7 per cent jump in February 1998. It earlier hit as high as HK$8.50. The stock traded at HK$6.65 on Friday, near a 14-month low, a deep discount to its tangible asset backing of HK$20-HK$24 per share over the past decade, according to Bloomberg data.

The Kadoorie family also derives its wealth from other business interests in Hong Kong including the holding company of China Light & Power, the electricity supplier founded by its Jewish Iraqi patriarch Elly Kadoorie in 1901.

The 80-year-old Michael, who is the chairman of CLP and Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, has a net worth of about US$7.4 billion, making him the 11th richest person in Hong Kong, according to Forbes.

The hotel unit operates The Peninsula chain across the globe, including full control of the property and brand in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Chicago and Bangkok, and part ownership in Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and Manila, among others. It also owns a bunch of commercial properties.

The 300-room Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, its flagship colonial-style property built in 1928, generated an 8 per cent gain in revenue in the first six months of 2021 as occupancy rose by 16 percentage points even amid a slump in the city’s tourism market. Its office tower was 94 per cent occupied, according to its interim report.

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