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£1B London Portfolio Hits The Market

The Westbury Hotel in London

A portfolio including some of London’s best-known hotels and a luxury retail unit valued at £1B is being sold off by a low-profile family-run company.

Cola Holdings has appointed Savills to sell assets totalling £1B, including the five-star, 246-room Westbury in Mayfair, and a retail unit leased to Burberry on Bond Streetaccording to CoStar.

Other assets that Cola owns include the 706-room Kensington Close hotel and the 603-room London Hilton Kensington. The latter was bought for £260M from administrators to Vincent Tchenguiz’s hotel company following its collapse in 2018.

Accounts for Cola Holdings indicate that these are the primary assets owned by the company, so a £1B sell-off would likely include all of these assets. The accounts show there is £613M of debt secured against the company’s assets. 

The company is owned by the 77-year-old patriarch of the family, Bakir Cola, whose story is one of immigrant success in London. Accounts vary, but he is reported to have left his native Iraq when Saddam Hussein took power in 1979 — as a Kurd he knew the incoming regime would not be good for the Kurdish population. 

In 1999 he first appeared on the radar of the London hotel scene, buying the 68-bedroom De Vere Park hotel before flipping it two years later. He built Kingsway Hall and Harrington Hall in west London, and sold them to NH Hotels for £50M in 2005.

He stepped back as a director of the company in 2012, and it is now run by his son Azad Cola. In 2014 the company paid the family a £110M dividend.