Hyatt Is Interested in Acquiring Spain's NH Hotel Group

(Bloomberg) -- Hyatt Hotels Corp., the lodging company founded by the billionaire Pritzker family, has sent a letter to NH Hotel Group SA indicating its interest in acquiring the Spanish hotel operator.

“Hyatt has a demonstrated track record of making strategic investments to extend the reach of our brands and create value for our stakeholders,” Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt’s president and chief executive officer, said in an emailed statement Thursday to Bloomberg. “In keeping with our growth strategy, we submitted a letter of intent expressing our interest in pursuing a potential acquisition of NH Hotel Group.”

Hyatt Is Interested in Acquiring Spain's NH Hotel Group

NH Hotel shares climbed as much as 5.7 percent on the news, the most since November, increasing the company’s market value to more than 2.6 billion euros ($3 billion). The Spanish firm on Friday acknowledged receiving the letter.

Any potential offer from Chicago-based Hyatt would provide an alternative for NH Hotel shareholders, who are weighing a tender offer from Thailand’s Minor International Pcl. That deal is conditional on approval from shareholders at an annual general meeting scheduled for Aug 9. Minor is already NH’s biggest shareholder, and said in a regulatory filing earlier Thursday that it had raised its stake to 35.55 percent. It acquired HNA Group Co.’s stake in June amid far-reaching asset sales by the debt-ridden Chinese conglomerate.

Minor’s offer for the portion of NH Hotel it didn’t own was valued at 1.64 billion euros in early June, when the plans were first announced. Bangkok-based Minor was formed more than a decade ago and is one of Thailand’s largest hospitality and leisure firms, with more than 160 hotels and resorts, 2,000 restaurants and 400 retail locations, according to the company’s website.

Hyatt’s Growth

Hyatt’s 14 brands include Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Place hotels, along with Exhale spas. Jay Pritzker founded the company in 1957, with his purchase of the Hyatt House, a small motel near the Los Angeles International Airport. He and his brother Donald expanded Hyatt over the next decade into a North American hotel-and-management company that went public in 1962. As of March, Hyatt had more than 700 properties in more than 50 countries across six continents.

In March, Hyatt sold three hotels -- Grand Hyatt San Francisco, the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii and the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Florida -- to Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. for about $1 billion. Hyatt is “pivoting to an asset-lighter business model” and sees an opportunity to separate NH Hotel’s real estate from its hotel-management business, Hoplamazian said in his statement Thursday.

“We believe that marrying NH Hotel Group’s strong footprint in Europe and select other markets with Hyatt’s global presence would yield a powerful portfolio of brands and network of hotels delivering compelling benefits for guests, owners and shareholders of both companies,” Hoplamazian said in the statement. Hyatt is seeking to “conduct additional due diligence to further inform valuation and determine the optimal approach to a potential offer,” he said.

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