US billionaire snaps up three Dublin hotels

The Morgan Hotel (Pic:
The Morgan Hotel (Pic:

A partnership headed up by TV3 owner and chairman of Liberty Media, the US billionaire John Malone, has paid an undisclosed sum for a portfolio of three Dublin hotels.

The John Malone Partnership (JMP) comprising John Malone, Paul Higgins and developer John Lally’s Lalco acquired the Spencer, Morgan and Beacon hotels which had been on the market for a combined €130m from the Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels group and Patron Capital Partners.

Capnua Corporate Finance and CBRE acted as joint advisers on the transaction.

Malone’s partnership has been particularly active in the Irish market in recent years. It already owns the five-star Westin Hotel on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street, the five-star Intercontinental (formerly the Four Seasons) in Ballsbridge, the Trinity City Hotel, the Hilton Dublin and the Limerick Strand. The partnership also manages the Lalco Hotels Galway Harbour, Glenlo Abbey Hotel and the Barnacles Hostels.

Commenting on the transaction, CEO of Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels, Paul Fitzpatrick said: “We took a strategic decision some time ago to review the next phase for these assets, and are delighted today to be handing over the keys of a great business, with a fantastic team of people to a well-established, local and proven operator.”

“We wish the new owners the very best in this regard and trust that they will take these fine hotels on to continued and future success in what is a strong and improving market,” Fitzpatrick added.   

The sale by Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels in conjunction with Patron Capital Partners of the three hotels is among the last of the major hotel transactions in the Irish market.

The deal comes on the back of the recent sale for €92m of the Gresham Hotel to Spain’s Riu Hotels and Resorts, and the sale by US private equity giant Blackstone of the former Burlington Hotel to the German-owned DekaBank for some €180m.

The Spencer Hotel in the IFSC was formally the Clarion Hotel.

The four-star property comprises 165 bedrooms, lounge, bar, restaurant and full leisure club with an estimated 1,000 members.

The hotel was sold in late 2013 to investment firm Patron Capital for close to €33m. Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels is also believed to have provided equity on the deal.

Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels was set up by Paul Fitzpatrick in 2001.

The Morgan Hotel is one of the best known hotels in the capital. Located in the heart of Temple Bar, it became one of the most popular hotels in Dublin during the Celtic Tiger years and is widely used for photo shoots and fashion events.

The Beacon Hotel in Sandyford, for its part, features "stylish rooms come with designer furniture and contemporary artwork". Its amenities include a Thai restaurant with an adjacent courtyard, cocktail bar and a 24-hour gym.