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Updated: December 15, 2009 17:16 IST

Abu Dhabi wealth fund takes stake in Hyatt Hotels

AP
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A file picture of the exterior view of the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Francisco. Photo: AP.
A file picture of the exterior view of the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Francisco. Photo: AP.

Abu Dhabi’s biggest sovereign wealth fund has bought more than 10 percent of the Hyatt Hotels Corp. shares floated by the iconic hotelier last month.

Chicago—based Hyatt disclosed the sale on Monday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal was made public on the same day oil—rich Abu Dhabi agreed to pump $10 billion in bailout funds into its struggling neighbor Dubai.

The filing said the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority bought nearly 4.8 million, or 10.9 percent, of Hyatt’s Class A common shares. Its overall stake in the company is considerably lower, however, because the wealthy Pritzker family holds the bulk of other stocks known as Class B shares that give it voting control over the company.

ADIA spokesman Euart Glendinning, confirmed the purchase on Tuesday. He said the fund intends to remain a minority shareholder.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hyatt shares closed at $29.05 apiece on Friday, the last trading day before the deal became public. At that price, ADIA’s stake is worth about $139.4 million.

ADIA is the largest of several investment funds Abu Dhabi uses to invest its oil wealth. It is perhaps best known for agreeing to pump $7.5 billion in Citigroup Inc. in late 2007.

The size of its holdings has not been made public, but it is believed to be the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Estimates of its size have ranged from less than $400 billion to $875 billion and up.

Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is one of seven semiautonomous sheikdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates, among OPEC’s top five oil producers. It serves as the federation’s capital, with control over the presidency and nearly all the country’s oil reserves.

Hyatt raised $950 million last month when it floated 38 million Class A shares - the type bought by ADIA - in one of the year’s few initial public offerings. Additional Class A shares were made available to the bank’s underwriters.

Hyatt was founded in 1957 by Jay Pritzker and first taken public in 1962. It later returned to private hands, where it remained for more than a quarter century until last month’s IPO. It owns, operates, manages or franchises 415 Hyatt—branded properties, including the Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt chains, in 45 countries.

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