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Tuesday, 7 April, 1998, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
The Savoy is sold for 520m
The Savoy
Peach Melba was created at the Savoy
London's Savoy Hotel, long beloved by the rich and famous, is to be sold to an American investment company for 520m.

The offer by Blackstone Hotel Acquisitions Company marks an end to the long-running saga of ownership of The Savoy Hotel group.

Blackstone announced on Tuesday that it won shareholder approval for a deal, which gives it control of the Savoy group's five-star London hotels - the Savoy, Claridge's, the Berkeley and the Connaught.

Empire falls from British hands

British leisure group Granada owned some 68% of the Savoy following its takeover of the Forte catering empire in 1996.

Blackstone said it would offer 15.32 for each Savoy A share and 70 for B shares. Granada said it would receive around 310 million for its stake.

Located in the heart of London's West End Theatreland, the Savoy - which opened in 1859, offering "the perfection of luxury and comfort" - has long played host to many famous names.

British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a regular diner, while the Peach Melba dish was created at the hotel in honour of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.

Overseas marketing

The new owners aim to work with the managing director of the hotel group, Spanish born Ramon Pajares, to export the Savoy name to leading cities around the world.

"We intend to roll the Savoy company into other cities over time," John Kukral, a managing director with Blackstone was reported as saying.

"Europe represents some very good opportunities for us now, but we plan to stick to major cities around the world," he added.

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