By Jim Butler, Hotel Lawyer | Author of www.HotelLawBlog.com
3 July 2007
Hotel Lawyer on THE BIGGEST HOTEL DEAL IN HISTORY. I almost entitled this blog: "'Paris Hilton, "Get a driver!'"
Fresh out of a jail after serving 23 days of a 45-day jail sentence for probation violation following an embarrassing series of drunk driving and driving without a license offenses, the insolent (now reformed) Paris Hilton should just get a driver. She may not have to worry about the cost anymore! Her Granddaddy's company has just been sold for $26 billion, and his share is $990 million!
REWIND. Instead, I decided to go with my more usual "hotel attorney and advisor" approach and will lead with this:
As if in a real world re-enactment of the nursery rhyme about 10 little Indians (or the 1945 Agatha Christie movie "Until there were none"*), Blackstone announced today that it is buying Hilton Hotels Corporation in a $26 billion deal. And in case you and Rip van Winkle have just awakened from your slumber, this deal is merely the latest in a long string of huge acquisitions by Blackstone approaching more yhan $100 billion in the last 5 years (including ESA/Extended Stay America for $8 billion, MeriStar for $2.6 billion, La Quinta for $3.4 billion, Wyndham for $3.2 billion, Boca Resorts for $1.25 billion) and by other private equity players such as Morgan Stanley which recently acquired CNL in a then-record-setting $6.6 billion deal only a few months ago.
What's so important about this acquisition? It portends an unprecedented consolidation of the hospitality industry with potentially staggering consequences to hotel owners, guests, and other stakeholders in the hospitality industry. We will talk about that shortly. It also provides further confirmation of the prediction I made a number of months ago that "the entire industry is now on the block." Let's take a further look at the details and background.