A GLOBAL HUNT
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Qatar just emerged as the surprise buyer of New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel. Katara Hospitality, which buys and manages hotels around the world for the Qatar government, bought the property for approximately $600 million.
Katara bought the majority stake held by India’s Sahara Group as well as a 25% stake held by real-estate investor Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and its partner Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.
This is notable because Qatar has been snapping up luxury properties in the West over the past decade in hopes to diversity beyond gas and oil exports. The Qatari government owns hotels including The Savoy and The Connaught in London. Its $300 billion-plus sovereign wealth fund (SWF), called the Qatar Investment Authority, has also made investments in companies such as Volkswagen and Glencore.
As of September 2017, the QIA had deployed more than half of the $45 billion earmarked for the United States. The Plaza Hotel deal marks one of Qatar’s largest investments in the Western property market.
Though Term Sheet normally discusses sovereign wealth funds in the context of tech investing, it’s worth noting that they are spreading their money across different asset classes. There are only so many attractive investment opportunities in technology when you’re looking to deploy hundreds of billions of dollars.
Similar to how sovereign wealth funds are conducting global searches for large enough opportunities, emerging tech mega-funds will likely face similar challenges and have to follow suit.
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• ThetaRay, an Israel and New York City-based provider of artificial intelligence and big data analytics that offers solutions for crime prevention, operational efficiency and threat detection, raised more than $30 million in funding. Investors include Jerusalem Venture Partners, GE, Bank Hapoalim, OurCrowd and SVB Investments.
• Fever, a London-based data-led entertainment and experience company, raised $20 million in Series C funding. Atresmedia and Labtech co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Accel Partners and 14W Ventures.
• Planck Re, an Israel-based developer of artificial intelligence-based insurance data software, raised $12 million in funding. Arbor Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Viola FinTech and Eight Roads.
• Starcity, a San Francisco-based company that converts underutilized multi-family, hotel, and office buildings to residential co-living properties, raised $1 million in funding. Investors include Prophit Investments.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Sun Capital Partners acquired ESIM, an Austria-based fine chemicals manufacturer and crop protection contract manufacture organization. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Arsenal Capital Partners sold IGM Resins, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of ultraviolet curable materials, to Astorg. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.