The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) has bought a “significant” stake in Kerzner International Holdings, the South African hospitality group founded by Sol Kerzner and operator of the Atlantis The Palm hotel, the iconic centrepiece of the Palm Jumeirah Island.

The ICD stated that it bought shares from a combination of the founder’s family and other investors. Though neither company has as of yet disclosed the purchase price, the investment company’s stake in the hotel group stands at around 46%.

Mohammed Al Shaibani, CEO of ICD, has now replaced Sol Kerzner as chairman of the hotel operator. He stated the investment by ICD, which has estimated assets of $70bn, comes on the back of Dubai’s push to boost its hotel and tourism industry as the city prepares to host the World Expo in 2020, and said:

“This investment reaffirms ICD’s commitment to support the long-term growth of our domestic hospitality market, a key pillar of and growth sector for the Dubai economy.”

Kerzner runs the operations of three international hotel brands, including both Atlantis and One&Only in Dubai, as well ‘Mazagan’ resorts in the Bahamas, Mauritius, Maldives, Mexico and South Africa. A further Atlantis resort is also being planned for China’s Hainan Province.

Sol Kerzner, who founded the company in 1994, commented: “I am exceptionally proud of all that has been accomplished at Kerzner International. This is a significant milestone in my life after a long and happy career in the tourism industry and I wish the company well.

“I am confident that with ICD’s guidance, the company will fulfil on its upcoming expansions towards further growth and global reach.”

ICD acquired the Atlantis hotel as a physical asset in December 2013 from Istithmar World, which originally owned a 50% stake, and later full ownership after Kerzner sold its 50% stake in 2012 for $250m as part of a $2.6bn debt structure, while retaining brand managing rights.

Istithmar also owns 25% of Kerzner International Holdings, and Goldman Sachs and Colony Capital have additional holdings in the company. ICD’s holdings include Emirates Airline and a stake in Emaar Properties, the developer of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa.

***UPDATE*** on 08.04.14

Expert sources of the Abu Dhabi state-sponsored newspaper, The National, revealed that a valuation of the Kerzner group’s hotel assets indicates that ICD likely paid about $450m for the stake “based on future earnings and cash flows and stripping out a relatively small amount of debt.”