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Sir David Barclay dies aged 86

13 January 2021 by
Sir David Barclay dies aged 86

Billionaire, hotelier and Telegraph Media Group boss Sir David Barclay has died unexpectedly following a short illness aged 86, according to the newspaper he owned.

Barclay, with his twin Sir Frederick, built a business empire which began with hotels and grew to include shipping, retail and media.

David Rowat Barclay and Frederick Hugh Barclay were born in London's Hammersmith on 27 October 1934. Their father was a travelling salesman who died when the boys were 13. David and his brother were evacuated several times during the war.

The twins left school aged 14 and David went to work in the accounts department of the General Electric Company, followed by spells painting, decorating and running a corner shop. By 1961 the twins had set up as estate agents, eventually redeveloping run-down boarding houses as small hotels.

Their first major hotel purchase was Hyde Park North and Hyde Park West, then the Cadogan in Sloane Street in 1968, followed by the Londonderry in Park Lane two years later and the Kensington Palace hotel in 1973. The Howard hotel on the Thames Embankment was added in 1975.

The brothers acquired the Ritz (pictured) in 1995 for £75m through their company Ellerman Investments from Trafalgar House. The five-red-AA-star, 136-bedroom hotel was sold last year to a Qatari investor for a reported £750m. However, a disagreement over the sale process and price and a bugging scandal resulted in court proceedings among the family.

For a time, they held a controlling stake in Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels before selling their interest in 2015 for more than £2.4b.

The family has also bought and sold the Cavendish London hotel and acquired the Beaumont hotel after Corbin & King relinquished the lease to freeholder Grosvenor.

The brothers were knighted in 2000.

David leaves behind sons Aidan, Howard, Duncan and Alistair, and wife Reyna Oropeza.

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