It seems Indian business conglomerates are increasingly getting smitten by iconic brands and landmarks across the globe.
After the Tatas and the Mittals, who have pocketed several enterprises in Europe and elsewhere, the latest in this line is the Sahara Group which is reported to be in advanced talks to acquire the iconic New York property, The Plaza, for $600 million (£378 million).
The Lucknow, India-based business conglomerate Sahara Group is presently carrying out due diligence of the 105-year-old hotel, reports the Indian financial daily, Economic Times. The group has earlier bought the Grosvenor House hotel in December 2010 for $726 million (£458 million).
Sahara has also reportedly paid an advance to property owners, Israel's El Ad group, and the deal is expected to conclude through Sahara's Mauritius-headquarterd subsidiary Aamby Valley, according to the ET report.
The valuation of the property reportedly covers two parts - hotel and retail space.
The hotel part consists of 100 condominium rooms and 130 large-size non-condominium rooms which are valued at nearly $400 million and a premium retail space housing leading luxury brands valued at around $200 million.
After the conclusion of the deal, the El Ad group has to terminate the management agreement with Canada's Fairmont Hotels & Resorts with immediate effect, the ET reported, attributing sources.
Currently, the management and operations of the hotel are contracted out to Fairmont.
The 20-storey Plaza overlooks New York's Central Park and is one of Manhattan's landmark structures. The hotel's guest list included Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles.
Hollywood's hot couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones got married at The Plaza in November 2000.
Besides hosting several celebrities, The Plaza has made its own place in the annals of history.
It was the site of the Plaza Accord of September 1985. According to the treaty, the finance ministers of the US, Japan, West Germany, France and Britain agreed to bring down the price of the US dollar against their currencies.
The Plaza was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in a French Renaissance chA¢teau-style which was opened in 1907.
Its previous owners included Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotels chain, and Donald Trump. It was granted landmark status by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969.
Subroto Roy owned Sahara's business portfolio include finance, real estate, media & entertainment, tourism & hospitality, services & trading.
Sahara and El Ad declined to comment on the deal.