Luxury hotel chain Four Seasons is to go private after accepting a $3.8b (£1.75b) takeover bid from Microsoft supremo Bill Gates and the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
The offer, made in November, has been approved by the Four Seasons board after scrutiny by three independent directors.
It will mean a $289m (£148m) windfall for Isadore Sharp, who founded the chain in 1960. He described the deal as "the best way to preserve and expand the long-term strategy, vision and core values of Four Seasons".
Once the takeover is completed, Sharp will retain a 10% stake in the company, while investment vehicles controlled by Gates and Prince Alwaleed will each have 45%.
Four Seasons has 74 hotels in 31 countries including two properties in London and one in Dublin.
This is not the first time Gates has entered the hotel market. His Cascade Investments vehicle bought the Buckinghamshire country hotel Cliveden in 1998 before selling it four years later.
By Daniel Thomas
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