The Moscow city government has sold National, a posh hotel and a historic landmark in the heart of Russia's capital across the street from the Kremlin, at Thursday's auction for 4.674 billion rubles ($148 million) to Smart Finance Group, a firm close to Russian B&N Bank co-owner Mikhail Gutseriyev.
The starting price at the auction to sell 100 percent of the hotel with over 200 rooms was 4.583 billion rubles (about $143 million).
Overall, there were two bidders at the auction, with the second company, Trading Group TG, considered as a technical participant to validate the auction.
Smart Finance Group acted in the interests of Gutseriyev, a company spokesman told RIA Novosti after the auction was over.
Vedomosti business daily reported on Wednesday, quoting sources close to the auction, that Mikhail Shishkhanov, the president of Russian B&N Bank and Gutseriyev's nephew, may buy National.
National is operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts under The Luxury Collection brand name.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who replaced long-serving Yury Luzhkov last October, has inherited a $5-billion budget deficit and has initiated a massive privatization of municipal property, starting with the sale of a 46%-stake in Bank of Moscow that was acquired by state-run VTB bank in February.