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CALIFORNIA

Star-Studded Group to Buy Pebble Beach

Real estate: Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer and others will acquire the plush Monterey Peninsula golf resort for $820 million.

June 18, 1999|JESUS SANCHEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An investment group that includes actor Clint Eastwood, golf master Arnold Palmer and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth on Thursday announced they have agreed to acquire the legendary Pebble Beach golf resort near Monterey for $820 million.

The sale will end nearly a decade of Japanese ownership of Pebble Beach, which became a symbol of the exorbitant prices paid and, subsequently, the massive losses suffered by Japanese investors who flooded into U.S. real estate during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"We think it's the best golfing place on the globe," said Ueberroth, who began negotiations to purchase the property in March. "I've been lucky enough to have played there over the last 40 years."

The purchase of Pebble Beach Co. includes the Pebble Beach Golf Links and three other nearby courses; two luxury hotels, the Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay; and 17-Mile Drive, a popular tourist destination.

Pebble Beach Co. is owned by a partnership between Taiheiyo Club Inc., a Japanese golf resort company, and Sumitomo Credit Services Co., one of Japan's largest issuers of Visa cards. The partnership purchased Pebble Beach in 1992 from golf tycoon Minoru Isutani, who bought the company only two years earlier from a group headed by oilman Marvin Davis. However, the debt-ridden Isutani was forced to sell the property at an estimated $350-million loss.

Taiheiyo Club will maintain a close relationship with the resort following the sale, according to Pebble Beach Co.

The new owners, who also include Richard Ferris, the former chief executive of United Airlines, have no plans to change the operating philosophy of Pebble Beach, according to a company statement. However, the group will identify "other business opportunities" to pursue. The purchase will be financed by Bank of America.

In addition, the investors said they intend to complete the company's Del Monte Forest Plan, which will develop a new golf course and more than 300 home sites on the 5,300-acre Pebble Beach site.

The sale is expected to be completed by July 31.

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