Blackstone to acquire three Anantara resorts in Maldives, reports say

US venture capital firm Blackstone is set to acquire the leasehold rights of at least three resorts in Maldives from Thailand’s Minor Hotels, media reports said Saturday.

Several local media reports said that Blackstone had offered to acquire the leasehold rights of three Anantara-branded resort islands, along with the island, which houses the staff facilities of the three resorts: Dhigufinolhu island, home to Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort; Veliganduhura island, home to Anantara Veli Maldives Resort; Kudahura island, home to Naladhu Private Island Maldives; and the staff island of Boduhura.

The islands are situated within the same lagoon, in close proximity to capital Male and the main Velana International Airport.

Meanwhile, the Maldives tourism ministry had issued two separate notices to clear any debt or claims on the islands before the lease transfer — a legal requirement for transferring leasehold rights of tourist resorts in the Maldives.

In addition to the three resorts being sold, Minor Hotels owns and operates Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas in Baa atoll and Niyama Private Islands Maldives in Dhaalu atoll.

Despite the sale, the resorts will reportedly be run under Minor Hotels’ Anantara brand.

This is the third major investment in the Maldives by Blackstone, the largest alternative investment firm in the world.

Blackstone had earlier this year acquired the leasehold rights of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort from local owner Crown Company for an undisclosed sum. The resort continues to be run managed by Hilton Worldwide, under its flagship Conrad Hotels and Resorts brand.

In February 2013, Blackstone acquired controlling stakes in Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) and its sole competitor Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT). The two seaplane operators were merged under the TMA brand, creating the largest seaplane operator in the world.

A consortium led by US-based Bain Capital and Chinese conglomerate Tempus Group had in 2017 bought TMA from Blackstone for USD 550 million.

This latest sale comes amidst increased activity in the Maldives hospitality industry, with real estate consultancy firm JLL estimating that that the industry will see its most active year with more than USD 450 million worth of resort transactions either completed or under offer.

Traditionally dominated by Asian investors, the Maldives is now attracting new sources of cross-border capital from Europe and the US. In the first six months of the year, investments from new sources of capital represent USD 300 million, compared to the annual average deal volume of USD 120 million per year.

In April, German-based Seaside Hotels & Resorts acquired Finolhu Maldives, a resort in Baa atoll, for approximately USD 90 million.

Cover photo: Ananatara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Naladhu Private Island Maldives. PHOTO: Faisal Photos

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