Hallmark deal gets stamp of approval

The Times | 15 Feb 2019

Topland owns the world-famous Royal Crescent hotel in Bath

The billionaire Zakay brothers have sold their Hallmark Hotels business to a consortium of overseas investors for an estimated £250 million.

Topland, the main property vehicle of brothers Eddie, 68, and Sol, 66, is understood to have sold the group of 26 hotels to an Israeli investment fund working with LGH Hotels Management, an operating company that runs a portfolio of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza franchises.

The Israeli-born brothers built Topland from sale and leaseback deals with retailers including Marks & Spencer and Tesco, but have diversified into hotels, renewable energy, finance and venture capital. They have assets worth £4.6 billion and, according to The Sunday Times Rich List, a fortune of £3.42 billion.

Including Hallmark, Topland’s hotel investments comprise 37 hotels, including the luxury Royal Crescent, in Bath, and properties operating under the Hilton and Thistle brands. The Hallmark group was built from the acquisition of the Menzies, Feathers and Hallmark fascias. Its hotels include the Welcombe, in Stratford-upon-Avon. Flitwick Manor, in Bedfordshire, and Llyndir Hall, near Chester.

Confirming the sale, Topland said that it was “looking to expand the current portfolio of Hilton and Thistle Hotels” and that it was “actively looking for new opportunities on individual or portfolio hotel acquisitions, hotel development, hotel financing and hotel [joint ventures].”