Businessman Denis O’Brien has halted the sale of Quinta do Lago, an exclusive resort in Portugal, for now after bids fell short of the asking price, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Bloomberg has reported that Mr O’Brien, 57, sought about €220m for the resort, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

A spokesman for Mr O’Brien declined to comment. One of the richest men in the country, Mr O’Brien has had mixed fortunes of late in selling assets.

Yesterday it was announced Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard would be acquiring the O’Brien-owned Topaz Energy Group for an undisclosed price.

In October, he also pulled a share sale by Digicel, halting what would have been the second-biggest initial public offering in the US this year.

Mr O’Brien is worth $4.2bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He bought Quinta do Lago in the late 1990s for an undisclosed price, becoming the third owner of the resort that’s more than four times the size of Monaco.

Set across 2,000 acres of land on the southern tip of Portugal, Quinta do Lago’s three golf courses, five-star hotels and multi-million-euro villas facing the ocean have been a magnet for celebrities ranging from the late Formula One driver Ayrton Senna to Princess Caroline of Monaco.

A buyer would have controlled 25 acres of residential plots, 31 acres of commercial development opportunities and over 140 acres of residential development potential.

"Quinta do Lago is without a doubt one of Europe’s most exclusive holiday destinations," said Alison Buechner Hojbjerg, a director at Quinta Properties, a real estate agency selling luxury villas at
the resort.

“But the asking price was clearly a high price,” she added.