By Anthony Effinger www.bloomberg.com
BMB Group, a firm representing Malaysian investors, offered to pay as much as $4 billion for Kerzner International Holdings Ltd., the hotel and casino company that built Atlantis in the Bahamas and Dubai, said BMB founder Rayo Withanage.
The firm’s BMB Advisors Malaysia Ltd. unit sent a letter on Oct. 11 to Sol Kerzner, founder of Kerzner International, offering to pay $3.4 billion to $4 billion for his Bahamas-based company, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg News. Kerzner International received the proposal and “the company is not for sale,” said Jennifer Glaisek, a spokeswoman.
BMB clients in Malaysia are putting up cash for the bid, Withanage said in a telephone interview from New York. They are attracted by the Atlantis properties, he said.
“We see this as a very powerful brand,” Withanage, 32, said. “If there’s going to be another Atlantis, it’s going to be in Asia.”
Kerzner International also owns One&Only resorts in locales from the Maldives to Mauritius. The company was taken private in 2006 for $3.2 billion, plus debt, by a group led by Kerzner himself. He partnered with Dubai World’s Istithmar PJSC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Whitehall Street Global Real Estate Limited Partnership 2005, Colony Capital LLC, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and Related Cos.
BMB was founded by Withanage and Brunei’s Prince Abdul Ali ’Yil-Kabier, a nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, in 2004, Withanage said. The pair play on a polo team together.
BMB is a “family office,” managing money for wealthy families in Brunei, Malaysia and the Persian Gulf, Withanage said. It is based in the Cayman Islands and has offices in New York, London, Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, he said.
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