WWD is reporting that two investment firms from the Middle East could drive the bidding for Barneys as high as $1.8 billion. We're not so familiar with the Qatar Investment Authority, but the other, Istithmar (a royal-family owned firm from Dubai) has been all over New York lately.
In April 2006, it acquired Six Times Square for $300 million. Two months later, it purchased 280 Park Avenue for $1.2 billion from Boston Properties. It capped off the summer of 2006 by purchasing 450 Lexington Avenue in August for $600 million.
Not wanting to limit itself to one particular niche, Istithmar also bought the W Hotel Union Square for $285 million in October and the former Knickerbocker hotel in Times Square for $300 million in June.