The founders of Oxfordshire-based hotel group Four Pillars have netted a multi-million pound profit by selling up to a global property fund.

The price was not disclosed, but is believed to be £121m.

Four Pillars employs 543 people, spread between five hotels and the Witney head office.

Asked what the sale would mean for staff, chief executive Charles Holmes, who will stay at the helm, said: "Everybody's job is absolutely safe and indeed it will meannew investment which may well lead to more jobs."

Four Pillars founder Brian Murtagh and chief executive Charles Holmes will continue to own a stake in the business, along with Mr Murtagh's fellow founders, developer Peter Morris and builder Jon Ede, who helped set up the company in 1973.

The five hotels are in Sandford-on-Thames, Abingdon, Witney and Abingdon Road, Oxford, and in Gloucestershire. Four Pillars recently gained planning permission for a £15m 140-bed development at Harwell, which will create 125 jobs when it opens in summer 2009.

The property investment vehicle, RREEF, will set up a joint venture with the Four Pillars founders to run the business, identify and build more hotels, which will be operated under the Four Pillars banner.

Alistair Dixon, of RREEF, said: "We are delighted to be making our first steps into this segment of the UK hospitality market sector through an investment that will take advantage of the UK's steady economic growth.

"Through our partnership with the Four Pillars management team, we have created a solid platform for future investment and intend to build a substantial portfolio over the coming years."

Mr Holmes, who will be chief executive of the new venture, added: "Four Pillars will remain Oxfordshire-based. That remains its core."