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Bill Gates and a Saudi prince are set to buy the Four Seasons hotel group. The surprise move into Bed & Breakfast probably won't absorb too much of the Microsoft founder's time.

Gates's personal investment company Cascade is teaming with Saudi Prince Al-Waleed's group, Kingdom Hotels International, to make an offer of $3.7bn for the hotel chain. The chain has 71 hotels, mostly in the US and Asia and some in the Middle East and Europe.

The offer values each share at $82 - 28 per cent higher than they were changing hands for before the bid was announced.

The bid is being headed up by Four Seasons founder and chief executive Isadore Sharp. He will stay on as chief executive and stands to make $288m from the deal.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is already a major shareholder in the chain.

The management buyout needs regulator and shareholder approval.

There's a press release announcing the deal here.®

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