A group of businessmen from the food, brewing and leisure industries have formed a hotel company that is aiming to build a presence in English market towns.
Midshires Hotels is looking to develop properties in the upper two-star and lower three-star markets in the south of England and the Midlands.
Its first acquisition is the 32-bedroom Stratton House Hotel in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, which it bought from PR Inns for an undisclosed sum.
Midshires' managing director, Howard Sumner-Fergusson, formerly managing director of brewing and pub operating firm Gibbs Mew, said that the firm hoped to have 10 hotels within 18 months.
The next acquisition, also likely to be located in Bedfordshire, was expected to be finalised within the next three to five months.
Funding has come initially from private investors but the firm is talking to venture capitalists, with a view to an eventual stock market listing.
Midshires Hotels' chairman is Russell Smith, chief executive of the leisure and retail firm Kunick. Hugh Cooper, formerly an executive with Sir JamesGoldsmith's businesses, is financial and administrative director.