The Subrata Roy-led Sahara group has rejected an offer for USD 1.3 billion or Rs 8,710 crore for its three prized overseas hotels, terming it a "devious attempt" to lower the price and disturb the sentiment of other bidders making "much higher" offers.
The offer was made by a group of family office investors, led by Jesdev Saggar-led 3 Associates. Rejecting the offer, Sahara group said in a strongly worded reaction that it was "a malicious and non-serious act of some wrong people".
Sahara group, whose chief Subrata Roy was in jail for over two years in connection with a long-running dispute with market regulator SEBI and is currently out on parole, has been trying hard to raise funds including through refinancing of loans on its overseas hotels.
The Supreme Court had asked 65-year-old Roy to pay Rs 10,000 crore to get bail, out of which Rs 5,000 crore should be paid in cash and rest in bank guarantees.
Roy is charged for his company’s failure to return about Rs 25,000 crore collected from small investors in the form of debentures later declared as illegal by stock market regulator SEBI and the apex court.
Replying to a query on the offer made by 3 Associates, a Sahara spokesperson told PTI, "The said proposal is baseless. It is a devious attempt to benchmark the price much lower than the actual market value of the properties in order to ruin the market and disturb the sentiment of the actual bidders who are bidding at market value which is much higher.”
"Please note that it is a malicious and non-serious act of some wrong people," the spokesperson added.
Sahara, however, did not disclose any details of other offers it has got for the three hotels.
Asked for comments on Sahara's rejection, Saggar, Managing Director of 3 Associates said: "We have followed the process and submitted in a compliant manner. If the bid is rejected then they should use the same process to communicate."
Earlier in the day, Saggar had said his proposal was a "very compelling offer" and it was a long-term investment opportunity for them.
"This is a long-term investment opportunity for us. We have submitted a very compelling offer. It is now up to the Supreme Court and the Roy family," he had said.
The consortium of family office investors, comprising of 3 Associates and others from the Middle East, has made the offer to acquire Sahara's majority stake in the three marquee hotel properties -- the famed Grosvenor House in London, Park Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels in New York.
Among others, the beleaguered Indian group was earlier said to be in talks with Qatar-based investors for a potential deal for the hotels.
As per the website of 3 Associates, its founders and Multi Family office network have completed over 314 million pounds (Rs 2763 crore) worth transactions since 2014, including hotels and commercial offices in the UK, the UAE and India.
It also claims to have "access to one of the largest pools of family office equity in the Middle East".