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Abu Dhabi Fund Said Close to Buying RBS’s 42 Marriott Hotels

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Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is close to buying 42 hotels managed by Marriott International Inc. and controlled by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The sovereign wealth fund, also known as ADIA, has been a preferred bidder since last summer and the sale includes hotels in London and Edinburgh, the person said, asking not to be identified because the deal hasn’t been made public.

ADIA may pay 640 million pounds ($992 million) for the hotels which RBS acquired after the borrowers defaulted on a loan in 2011, the Times of London reported Feb. 16, without saying how it obtained the information. ADIA and Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s wealth fund, were bidding for the Marriott hotels, the Sunday Times reported in July.

Erik Portanger, an ADIA spokesman, and Adam Holden, spokesman for administrators Ernst & Young, declined to comment. Nobody was immediately available to comment at RBS.

Oil Wealth

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and home to about 7 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, is seeking to diversify away from oil by investing abroad. It set up ADIA in 1976 to manage proceeds from its oil wealth.

ADIA, which doesn’t invest in the U.A.E. or typically in the Gulf Arab region, had assets valued at $328 billion at the end of 2008, according to economists at New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, the latest available data. The fund manages global investments including equities, fixed income, real estate and private equity.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mahmoud Kassem in Abu Dhabi at mkassem1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net