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Malaysian billionaire makes bid for Thistle

19 July 2005

Malaysian billionaire-tycoon Quek Leng Chan has made a £550m bid for London's biggest hotel group, Thistle Hotels.

Quek's Hong Kong-based company Guoco Group increased its stake in the Singaporean-based BIL International which owns the Thistle hotel chain to more than 30%, triggering a takeover bid.

However, Quek only bid $1.20 (41p) per share, just below the market rate of £1.24 (42p) before trading was suspended.

This has fuelled analyst speculation that he is not planning to take full control of the group.

Thistle has 10,000 rooms in the UK, 6,000 of which are in London, including flagship properties at Victoria, Kensington Palace and Marble Arch.

BIL took Thistle private in 2003 with a £627m deal but has subsequently sold six properties for a rumoured £185m.

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