The sale of 75 InterContinental hotels in the UK attracted about 200 indicative bids in the first round of the disposal that is expected to raise about £1.3b for shareholders.
The company plans to retain ownership of only six UK hotels, including the InterContinental on Hyde Park Corner in London.
Analysts anticipate the biggest response will come from private investors or private equity firms, although they expect international players such as Peninsula, Shangri-La and Rezidor SAS to be interested in hotels that can be rebranded.
"We are looking to keep the flags on the majority of the hotels through management or franchise deals," said communications director Leslie McGibbons.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 28 October 2004