Core Holdings.. a prize Raffle?

By | July 20, 2005

China Post just reported the following:

Singapore’s iconic 117-year-old Raffles Hotel has been sold, along with 40 other hotels and properties worldwide to U.S.-based investment fund Colony Capital LLC for S$1.72 billion (US$1 billion; euro846 million), including debt, its former parent Raffles Holdings Ltd. said Monday.

I got to wondering about companies that sell their core businesses: why? In the case of Raffles Holdings, that would leave them only one core holding, and a large pile of cash… Why would you sell your core holdings when you don’t seem to have any alternatives?

I can see the case where companies have acquired an asset that doesn’t perform well within the company. But selling a core holding doesn’t seem to make sense.

Perhaps Raffles just doesn’t see any opportunities in the Hotels market, (though I find that difficult to believe, with increasing travel in Asia, increasing affluence in both India, and China, and a high level of prestige, that many could afford nowadays).