The US Hilton Hotels group has accepted a bid worth just over 19 billion euros from the private equity firm Blackstone. That means they are paying almost a third more for each share than the closing price on Tuesday. It is the latest – and the richest – in a series of such deals, as the hotel industry enjoys a lengthy boom with strong demand allowing hoteliers to steadily raise their rates.
Hilton is the world’s fourth largest chain and owns or operates 2,800 hotels, just behind Marriot also of the US. The second biggest is British based Intercontinental with 3,700 and Accor of France is the leader with 3,800. Blackstone is no stranger to the hospitality business. It already has a significant portfolio of hotel and resort properties, comprising more than 100,000 rooms in the US and Europe.
The private equity group said it was attracted by Hilton’s expansion plans. It has been expanding aggressively since 2005, when it bought Britain’s Hilton Group, reuniting a brand that split in the 1960s and making it more of a global player.