French group AccorHotels has continued its acquisitive streak with the announcement that it has signed an agreement to buy an 85% stake in US-based business 21c Museum Hotels for $51m (£39m).
Founded in 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky, by contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c Museum Hotels currently has eight properties open and three under development across the US. The hotels combine an art museum with accommodation and chef-driven restaurants.
21c Museum Hotels will join AccorHotels' MGallery collection of boutique hotels, marking the introduction of the brand into North America.
Brown and Wilson will retain a 15% stake in the company and will remain closely involved in providing creative guidance and support in the development of the unique combination of art, design and hospitality. 21c Museum Hotels will continue to be led by president and chief executive Craig Greenberg, with headquarters in Louisville.
Kevin Frid, chief operating officer, North & Central America, AccorHotels, said the acquisition marked "a new step" in AccorHotels' strategy of being a leading player in the luxury and lifestyle segment of North America.
"Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to grow the 21c brand, as well as introduce MGallery into the North American market, building both brand equities and further expanding the full range of unparalleled experiences for our guests."
Wilson added: "AccorHotels is one of the world's leading hotel operators and will be a perfect partner and catalyst for 21c's continued growth. We are confident that the unique spirit of 21c will not only be preserved, but will flourish within the MGallery collection of boutique hotels. 21c will continue to bring the work of today's most dynamic and engaging contemporary artists to the public, and this partnership will be a tremendous boost for 21c's continued development in North America and abroad."
The acquisition of 21c Museum Hotels, which is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2018, follows on from AccorHotels' recent global spending spree which has included the Mantra Group of Australian hotels, a 50% stake in the Mantis Group of South African hospitality companies and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.