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Blackstone readies Hilton for eventual flotation – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

21 March 2011 by
Blackstone readies Hilton for eventual flotation – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Blackstone readies Hilton for eventual flotation Blackstone, the private equity owner of Hilton Worldwide, is refining the hotel giant's finances to international reporting standards in readiness for an eventual flotation in New York or London. Although the listing is not imminent, Blackstone executives are said to want to be ready to move quickly when the time and markets are right. Blackstone snapped up the group for $26b almost four years ago, shortly after the Hilton group was reunited after a 42-year separation, when the Hilton Hotels Corporation of the USA bought the UK-based Hilton Group for $3.3b. Blackstone raised $21b for the combined group just before the credit crunch struck and has now fully reintegrated the two parts. Hilton has about 3,600 hotels. - 20 March Read the full article in theIndependent on Sunday>>

Punch Taverns may shed more pubs to reduce £3b debt Analysts are expecting Punch chief executive Ian Dyson to announce more pub sales or closures this week as he updates the market on the company's strategic review. The company, which has £3b debt but is worth less than £459m, has already unveiled plans to reduce its leased estate from about 7,600 (in 2009) to 5,000. It currently has 803 managed groups and 5,967 leased inns and bars. The group has split its estate into three groups - Punch A, Punch B and Spirit - in a securitisation programme and the Spirit group of mostly managed, food-led pubs, is understood to be performing the best. - 20 March
Read the full articles inScotland on Sundayand theIndependent on Sunday>>

Earliest-ever British asparagus hits the markets A new breed of British-grown asparagus is now for sale two months ahead of the traditional harvesting season between 23 April and 21 June. The Early Season Asparagus - an improved version of the UC157 Californian/Peruvian variety - does not need to lie dormant over the winter like traditional types and will bloom at 7°C rather than 9°C so it can be cut earlier. It was grown under greenhouse - rather than outdoors - at Revills Farm in Pershore, Worcestershire, which is hoping for a second yield this year as the asparagus does not need to remain dormant for a year to regenerate after cutting. The new breed is smaller and sweeter than regular asparagus, less stringy and, according to asparagus expert Chris Sheehan, tastes "like fresh peas". - 19 March Read the full article in theDaily Telegraph>>

Cumberland sausage wins Protected Geographical Indication status The Cumberland sausage has won Protected Geographical Indication status under European law. The long-coiled sausage, which will now have to be made in Cumbria in order to use the name, joins Stilton cheese, Cornish clotted cream and Melton Mowbray pork pies in having its geographic origin protected. However, the sausage is believed to have been created by German miners working in the region in the 16th century who wanted to eat something that reminded them of home. - 18 March Read the full article in theIndependent>>

Scottish cheesemakers seek Protected Food Name status Two Scottish cheesemakers are seeking Protected Food Name Status to prevent cheap and inferior copycats from profiting for their reputation for quality. The PFN status has already been awarded to Arbroath Smokies, Orkney Beef and Lamb and Scottish Farmed Salmon. Orkney Island Cheddar is made from milk from the Orkney Isles to a traditional recipe and process while Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop is made from the milk of Ayrshire cows and made in the area around the traditional parish of Dunlop. - 20 March Read the full article in theMail on Sunday>>

By Angela Frewin

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