A notice in the Kenya Gazette, the government’s official publication, has tipped off the market that InterContinental Hotels, which held a stake in their Nairobi property since it was opened in 1967, had sold to a co-investor in the holding company known as Kenya Hotel Properties Ltd. The global hotel giant held a share of just under 34 percent and the sale will give the buyers a majority shareholding by just over 53 percent, allowing them to call the shots. The Kenya Competition Authority had reviewed the deal and given it their formal nod, then publishing the approval in the Kenya Gazette published this week.
The Kenyan government too holds shares in the company in the same percentage as InterContinental Hotels did, which were due to be divested several years ago already alongside such holdings in the Nairobi Hilton and the Mountain Lodge but bids by other shareholders in these properties, which have a first right of refusal to buy under the current company law, were not meeting government’s expectations, or so was the story told at the time. It is understood that IHG was initially keen to purchase the government’s shares but why exactly the deal never did go through could not be reliably established.
The InterContinental Hotel, a city landmark in its own right, now that IHG has offloaded their share for an undisclosed amount of money, is fully expected to retain the management of the property though there have been suggestions to turn the hotel into a franchise operation similar to another IHG brand in Nairobi, like the Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn.