Theophilus Danjuma rtd, a former minister of defence, has splashed a whopping N1bn for a 300-year-old hotel in London. According to United States-b
Theophilus Danjuma rtd, a former minister of defence, has splashed a whopping N1bn for a 300-year-old hotel in London.
According to United States-based financial data media house, Bloomberg, Billionaires Index, TY Danjuma who is now worth $1.2 billion, (N432bn), purchased the hotel at a staggering £2.4m. The Kings Arms Hotel, a 14-room inn in London, sitting pretty next to Hampton Court Palace, once housed Henry VIII, the king of England in 1509. Presently undergoing renovation, a room is estimated to cost £250 per night after its re-launch.
Danjuma’s new venture is far removed from civil war and deepwater oil fields, the spheres where he amassed his power and fortune. The family office also manages private equity investments, trust funds and a venture capital arm that funds film companies. His charity work is done through his foundation after he pledged to give away $100 million.
Speaking on their modus operandi, Hannatu Gentles, the second daughter of TY Danjuma, says the family does not invest in trophy assets.
“We never tend to look at trophy assets. We’re not going to head to Mayfair to buy a 15 million-pound apartment primarily because we are a yield business. We invest in real estate in other jurisdictions, but in the UK, we always thought let’s stick to areas that we know. Gentles, who is the chief operating officer of her father’s London-based family business,”
Gentles also said redevelopment work was expected to end in March, filings show, but the inn’s age and protected status resulted in higher costs and delays.
“This is the first, and will possibly be the last, listed building we’ve worked on. It’s taken longer than we wanted, but our name is attached to the building and we want to be proud of our work. It’s been a hard slog.”
This is the first time Danjuma’s net worth would be made public. Asides the £2.4 million (1,096,662,240) hotel, the family has invested in more than 30 properties across three continents. In 2017, the 80-year-old was mentioned in the Panama Papers in 2017 among prominent Nigerians that operated foreign accounts and had foreign companies while holding public office. The retired general was also among global personalities found to maintain secret accounts, operated with codes, with the Swiss branch of banking giant, HSBC.
Danjuma was born in 1938, the year Royal Dutch Shell received its first oil exploration license for the country and more than two decades before it gained independence from Britain. He dropped out of college in 1960 to join the army. He gained prominence after participating in the 1966 counter-coup against Nigeria’s first military dictator. A decade later, he was stepping out of a Rolls-Royce in central London to meet British military officials in his role as chief of staff for Nigeria’s army.
He left the military in 1979 and founded his oil firm and a shipping company, NAL-Comet, which now has more than 2,000 employees in Nigeria. Danjuma paid $25m in 1998 for the oil field exploration license that made him a billionaire. A year later, he became Nigeria’s defence minister as the country returned to democracy.
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 $1.8bn. Danjuma who left the military in 1979 to start his oil and shipping firm, NAL-Comet which he partnered with Total SA and Petrelo Brasileiro SA to run, now has his minority stake in the oil block reportedly worth $450 million. In 1998, he was awarded an oil block by Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s deceased head of state.