Arab connection to London has always been there through imperial history, but Qatar's going further than anyone else. And while it rankles some in UK and Europe, Qatar and other sovereign wealth is the only ones bullish on Europe in these recessionary times.
With its burgeoning oil-and-gas wealth – and money to burn – tiny Qatar has become a massive and increasingly controversial investor in London…Helped largely by the falling value of the British pound, Qatar’s state-backed investment funds have snapped up an interest in everything from the Olympic Park to Harrods department store, Canary Wharf, Sainsbury grocery stores, the United States embassy building, Barclays Plc., the London Stock Exchange, Heathrow Airport and Camden Market.
Investors from Qatar have also recently made a pitch to buy the Arsenal soccer team for $2.3-billion, more than twice the record price for an English football team (Qatar is hosting soccer’s World Cup in 2022). Last year alone, Qatar bought more than $4-billion worth of real estate across Europe, much of it in London.
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Photo Credit: A woman looks out at the financial district from a window at the Shard in London. Shard is controlled by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Luke Macgregor / Reuters