October 27, 2008 / 6:40 AM / 10 years ago

Saudi group in $2 bln hotel deal with Starwood- paper

(Adds detail, background)

RIYADH, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Saudi-owned MBI International will sign an agreement to buy 12 hotels in France from Starwood Capital in deal that could be worth $2 billion, a Saudi newspaper reported on Sunday.

The deal will include Le Crillon Hotel in Paris and 11 other establishments, Asharq al-Awsat reported, quoting unidentified sources close to the Saudi group.

London-based MBI International, which is owned by Saudi billionaire Mohamed bin Issal al-Jaber, could not be immediately reached for comment.

A deal will be unveiled “within the next few days” and the U.S. firm is in the process of informing staff of the hotels involved in the deal, it said.

Other hotels in the deal include Concorde Lafayette and Concorde Montparnasse.

Jaber has said that his group is focusing its expansion at the luxury end of the real estate business.

If completed, the transaction with Starwood will be MBI International’s second luxury property investment in France since June this year. It announced in July plans to spend 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to build two luxury towers in Paris.

(Reporting by Souhail Karam, Editing by Lin Noueihed & Jan Dahinten)

((souhail.karam@reuters.com, +966 1 463 2603; Reuters Messaging: souhail.karam.reuters.com@reuters.net))

($1=.7922 Euro) Keywords: STARWOOD MBI/SAUDI

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