Danjuma Purchases London’s Iconic Hotel for N1bn

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James Emejo with agency report

A former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), has acquired the Kings Arms Hotel, London for N1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The hotel is a 300-year-old inn next to London’s Hampton Court Palace, once the home of Henry VIII.

The facility is expected to open soon after ongoing refurbishment, with rooms costing about 250 pounds ($318) a night, the report stated.

Guests can dine on traditional fare in the six restaurants, a reference to the monarch’s many wives, or grab a pint on the terrace.

In this most English of settings, it’s fitting the owner is a retired military man still referred to as “General.”

The hotel is just one of Danjuma’s investments in a network of assets that span at least three continents.

The 80-year-old Nigerian is worth $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with his family office managing a portion of that wealth, often through low-key holdings such as the 14-room hotel.

“We never tend to look at trophy assets,” said daughter Hannatu Gentles, the second of Danjuma’s five children and chief operating officer of his London-based family office.

“We’re not going to head to Mayfair to buy a 15 million-pound apartment primarily because we are a yield business.”

Danjuma’s new venture is far removed from civil war and deepwater oil fields, the spheres where he amassed his power and fortune.

In 2006, his South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd. sold almost half its contractor rights for a section off Nigeria’s coast to a state-backed Chinese firm for $1.8 billion.

Danjuma was awarded the block in 1998 by the regime of former dictator and fellow army officer the late Gen. Sani Abacha, making him one of a handful of Nigerians made extraordinarily wealthy from the country’s energy reserves.

“Basically, these people got winning lottery tickets,” said Antony Goldman, founder of West Africa-focused ProMedia Consulting.

“At the time, you had a government desperate for credibility that was isolated internationally.” Danjuma was “someone who’s not really a politician, who is respected in business and in the army.”