Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sardinia's Costa Smerelda to Be Bought by Emir of Qatar

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Fifty years after it was created from scratch by the Aga Khan as a playground for the rich and famous, Sardinia's exclusive Emerald Coast is on the verge of being bought by one of the world's richest men, the emir of Qatar.

A portfolio of luxury properties on the stunning stretch of coastline - where former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has a sprawling villa - is to be acquired by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani through the Middle Eastern state’s sovereign fund, Qatar Holding.

The investment arm of the Qatari royal family is to buy Smeralda Holding, a company which owns four five-star hotels, the Pevero Golf Club, ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world, and a marina with 700 yacht berths, according to Italian press reports.

The assets are currently owned by Tom Barrack, an American property magnate, whose Colony Capital fund bought them in 2003 for a reported €290m (£242m).

The sale has not been officially confirmed, and a spokesman for Qatar Holding in London declined to comment. » | Nick Squires | Tuesday, April 03, 2012