Hilton’s Board of Directors recently approved Blackstone Group’s proposal to purchase the Hilton Hotels Corp. and the expected merger is set to close during the fourth quarter of 2007. Completion of the deal is subject to the approval of Hilton’s shareholders and customary closing conditions. “We are delighted that a company with the resources and reputation of Blackstone fully appreciates the value inherent in our global presence, strong brands, industry leading marketing and technology programs, and unique portfolio of hotel properties,” said Stephen Bollenbach, Hilton’s CEO.
Blackstone owns more than 100,000 hotel rooms in the U.S. and Europe, including La Quinta Inns and Suites and Luxury Resorts and Hotels. Hilton has over 145,000 hotel rooms worldwide and its brands include Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton and The Waldorf-Astoria Collection. A joint press release states that Blackstone intends to invest in the Hilton properties and grow the company. Since its acquisition of La Quinta in January 2006, Blackstone has successfully grown the hotel brand by approximately 45 percent.
Editors’ Note: While our thoughts on how the merger will effect the Hilton HHonors and La Quinta Returns loyalty programs are speculative, we think that the two programs will remain separate and don’t foresee a huge impact in the short term. And there could be a few positive changes to come out of this development for HHonors members: Blackstone could decide to add their Luxury Resorts and Hotels to the emerging Waldorf-Astoria brand; adding possible award stays for members in more high-end hotels.