Henderson Park buys Paris’s largest hotel for €365m

The European real estate investment platform, founded by former Mount Kellett executive Nick Weber in September, has made its first acquisition just two months after it was backed to the tune of $500m by Stone Point, Kuwait Investment Authority and Wafra Investment.

Henderson Park, the London-based real estate investment manager, has acquired the largest hotel in Paris, Le Méridien Etoile hotel, for a figure thought to be in the region of €365 million.

The asset was bought from a joint venture between founding partner Nick Weber’s old firm, Mount Kellett Capital Management, and Cedar Capital. The transaction was made on behalf of the partnership between private equity firm Stone Point Capital and Kuwaiti investors Kuwait Investment Authority and Wafra.

Le Méridien Etoile is a 1,025-room hotel in Paris, originally built in 1972 as Air France’s flagship hotel. The property is located in central Paris, directly opposite the Paris Convention Centre, one of the largest conference centers in Europe.

The hotel, which is currently operated by Starwood Hotels under its Le Méridien brand, was relaunched in October following a substantial renovation, with extensive upgrades to the rooms and banqueting and conference facilities. Henderson Park said it believes the asset is well placed to benefit from a recovery of the Paris hotel market.

Weber said: “Le Méridien Etoile hotel is a superb hotel with significant potential and fits our approach to investments, being an extremely high quality property in a prime location within a top-tier or gateway city, but which also offers the opportunity to asset manage further value.”

“We are firm believers in Paris’ strong underlying fundamentals as both a travel destination and an investment location, which, next to London, is one of only two truly global cities in Europe and remains one of the top three cities in the world in terms of tourist numbers,” Weber added.

Weber, a former Goldman Sachs executive and head of Europe at private equity firm Mount Kellett, launched Henderson Park after receiving backing from Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm Stone Point Capital, sovereign wealth fund Kuwait Investment Authority, and New York and Kuwait-based investment manager, Wafra Investment Advisory Group.

The Henderson Park founder told PERE in September that Henderson Park would continue to seek value-add and opportunistic returns on behalf of the three investors, predominantly through off-market deal flow. He added that his firm was evaluating $2 billion of transactions across Europe via the platform. Included in the pipeline, Weber said, were potential investments in the UK, France, Spain and the Nordics.