Qatar Fund Buys Costa Smeralda Italy Resorts From Colony Capital

Qatar Holding LLC, the investment arm of the Persian Gulf country’s sovereign-wealth fund, agreed to buy luxury hotel owner Smeralda Holding from Colony Capital LLC as the Qatari state seeks to diversify investments.

The purchase includes four hotels in Costa Smeralda, on the Italian island of Sardinia, as well as a golf course, marina and undeveloped land, Qatar Holding said in a statement today. Smeralda Holding will keep its existing management and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. will continue to run the hotels.

“We have invested in Sardinia given the importance of the area,” Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said at a news conference in Rome today with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. “I can ensure that the Italian side will be happy about our investment.”

The luxury resorts are near the sprawling Porto Cervo villa where former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hosted heads of state and held parties that embroiled the leader in a series of sex scandals. Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, has been buying assets across Europe as output rises and oil prices increase.

In February, Qatar Investment Authority bought Credit Suisse Group AG’s London headquarters, while Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., another arm of the wealth fund, bought most of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s headquarters campus in London with Canary Wharf Group Plc in July 2011.

Evercore Partners Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG were advisers on Qatar Holding’s transaction announced today. No further details were announced.

Colony Capital, the private-equity firm led by Tom Barrack, last month sold its remaining 30 percent stake in Paris Saint- Germain soccer team to the Qatari Investment Authority, website Wansquare reported on March 6, without citing where it got the information.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net Zainab Fattah in Dubai on zfattah@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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