The Leela Ambience Convention hotel in New Delhi. (Source: Company’s Website)

Thailand's Minor Mulls $350 Million Deal for Leela Chain

(Bloomberg) -- A consortium including Thailand’s Minor International Pcl is considering an investment of about $350 million in Indian hospitality firm Hotel Leelaventure Ltd., according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The proposed bid, which is also backed by investment firm Trinity White City Ventures, includes a mix of equity and debt, the person said. The consortium would end up with a majority stake in Mumbai-based Hotel Leelaventure if the transaction proceeds, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to an agreement, the person said.

Hotel Leelaventure runs a chain of hotels and resorts, with nine properties it owns or manages across India, according to the company’s latest annual report. Its luxury properties include The Leela Palace Udaipur, situated on picturesque Lake Pichola, and The Leela Kovalam, located on a beachside cliff in the southern state of Kerala.

“Minor is always on the lookout for good investment opportunities, which includes Hotel Leela,” Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive officer of Minor’s hotel unit, said by phone Friday. “But nothing is set in stone. We are currently exploring the option.”

A representative for Trinity confirmed the plan. A spokeswoman for Leelaventure said “right now there is nothing that we can share,” adding the company will make an official announcement “once anything in finalized and we move towards a decision.”

Minor has been expanding through acquisitions, spending 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion) this year to take control of Spanish chain NH Hotel Group SA. Shares of Minor have fallen 21 percent in Bangkok trading this year, giving the company a market value of about $4.9 billion.

Trinity White City Ventures, the family office of Shahal Khan, was behind an aborted attempt to acquire New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel earlier this year. The $600 million deal fell apart amid a series of lawsuits over the sale process, and the historic property was eventually sold to a Qatari state-owned company.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.