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Initial Style Conferences sold for £325m

07 December 2005

Initial Style Conferences has been sold to the Alternative Hotel Group for £325m.

The new group is led by Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) chief executive Richard Balfour-Lynn with backing from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

It will operate as a separate business to MWB, which owns London department store Liberty's and hotel groups Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.

The 29 Initial Style conference sites will be rebranded at a future date, although a new name for the group has yet to be decided.

Doug Flynn, Rentokil chief executive, said that the sale was due to a conflict of interest.

"We decided to sell Style Conferences because its operating characteristics are substantially different from other businesses in the company, and because we believe that there area other owners for whom the business would be a better fit," he said.

Rentokil said that the proceeds from the sale would be used to reduce debt within the group.

Meanwhile, MWB has sold its five-star hotel in Argyle Street to the WG Mitchell Group for £52.5m cash.

The 250-room property opened in November 2002 after being developed by MWB and is operated by Radisson SAS on a 20-year agreement.

MWB will use the proceeds to pay off the £33.8m debt secured on the property and pay shareholders dividends by December 2007.

By Chris Druce

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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