One More Thing: Citywest bid may need late check-in

Citywest Hotel, Conference, Leisure and Golf Resort

Citywest Hotel, Conference, Leisure and Golf Resort

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 01:10

Today is D-Day for the €30 million receivership sale of Ireland’s largest hotel, Citywest, on the outskirts of Dublin, along with its 4,000-seat conference centre and golf course.

The deal to buy the former Jim Mansfield property by the Swiss- linked BSQ Investments is supposed to close today. I hear it is going down to the wire, however, with rumours swirling that it may struggle to get over the line.

That scenario is far from certain, of course. Hugh Taylor, of UK hotel asset management company Michels & Taylor, which is being lined up by BSQ to run the hotel, assured me this week that the deal would go through as planned.

“As far as we are concerned, we will be taking over the hotel once the deal closes [today],” he said.

But the jungle drums are banging like a primeval percussion concerto that there has been a late snag relating to financing. Some of the underbidders are understood to now be circling Citywest once more, hoping to get a second bite.

The receiver, Martin Ferris, who was appointed by Bank of Scotland (Ireland), was unwilling to shed any light on the issue this week. The principals of BSQ, including Irish- born former Bank of Scotland banker Tony Lynam, did not return repeated calls for comment.

The unconfirmed rumour is that much of BSQ’s backing came from Asian investors, some of whom have concerns about a series of protests held at the hotel by unpaid contractors.

The issue has faint echoes of a previous Lynam-linked deal. Pinnacle Finance, another of his firms, was in exclusive talks to buy Southampton football club out of insolvency in 2009. He had even lined up Saints legend Matt Le Tissier to front the deal.

Pinnacle was unable to produce the finance to complete the deal, however, and the club was bought by another bidder who took it to the Premier League.

If the private assertions of some of those close to the deal are correct, all will be well and the Citywest sale will go through as planned.

Those drums keep banging, though.

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