US billionaire Mr. William P Foley II in deal for the purchase of exclusive luxury New Zealand estate in Southern Wairarapa

Comments Off | 09-2-2010

Mr. William P Foley II, a US billionaire with extensive investments in New Zealand has acquired the exclusive Wairarapa country estate and farming business. Reports confirmed that the billionaire investor’s bid had gotten the thumbs up for the acquisition from New Zealand’s foreign investments watchdog, the Overseas Investment Office. The investment, even though undertaken at an undisclosed amount, will see the billionaire acquire the Wharekauhau Lodge.

However, Mr. Foley is not alone in the undertaking; other partners in the deal include his business partner and its New Zealand managers. Mr. Foley currently boasts of extensive investments in New Zealand, and is a top paid executive chairing US based Fidelity Financial, an insurance firm. But even as the financial details of the transaction are kept under wraps, valuers have placed the lodge and the 2033 hectare operational farm at over $24 million. The Wharekauhau Lodge and the farm it sits on have for a long time been considered amongst global top 20 resorts, boasting clients such as movie stars.

The Lodge has hosted Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Meg Ryan amongst others. The Wharekauhau Lodge is situated in the 2023 hectare farm property found in Southern Wairarapa. The deal will see the US billionaire become the majority shareholder of the country estate and farming business. Mr. Foley’s New Zealand businesses mainly span the country’s wine industry, but he has other interests in other sectors. He owns the more than $80 million worth ranch based in Montana, fast food chains, and vineyards in Napa Valley.

The other buyers in the acquisition include Nico De Lange and his wife, Kristy who are Kiwis and one Mr. Thomas M Hagerty, an American. Mr. Hagerty is the director of a number of Mr. Foley’s business, inclusive of Fidelity National Financial. On their part, the Kiwi couple has been the managers of the acquired property for the last seven years. Mrs. De Lange reiterated her delight over the investment, saying the future for the business “looks bright.”

From what Karine Thomas, the property’s marketing director, said, the property might be in for an overhaul as the new owners are thought to be working on plans for a complete makeover. A multimillion-dollar renovation was already under way, with “substantial amounts of money” spent upgrading the grounds, buildings and soft furnishings in the past fortnight, she said.

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Posted in Foreign Direct Investment/FDI New Zealand, General, Real Estate New Zealand |

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