Chinese tourism conglomerate HNA Group is to purchase a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide in a £5.3b deal from affiliates of Blackstone, reducing the private equity company's interest in the global hotel group to approximately 21%. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.
Following Hilton's previously announced spin-offs of Park Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations, which are expected to occur on or about the end of the year, HNA will own approximately 25% of all three companies.
Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive of Hilton Worldwide, said: "HNA Group has a broad portfolio of successful travel and hospitality businesses and a proven track record of creating value in this industry. We believe this mutually beneficial relationship will open new opportunities for our brands and guests around the world, particularly in light of HNA's strong position in the fast-growing Chinese travel and tourism market."
Adam Tan, vice-chairman and chief executive of HNA Group, said: "This investment is consistent with our strategy to enhance our global tourism business, and we look forward to working together on new initiatives that leverage our respective strengths, expertise and tourism platforms to provide travellers with more choice, value and world class services."
Jon Gray, global head of real estate, Blackstone, and chairman of the Hilton board of directors, added: "Since our initial investment in Hilton nine years ago, the company and its leadership team have delivered phenomenal results. We think the company's future is bright, and this long-term investment from HNA Group only adds to its potential."
The Hilton Worldwide deal follows a swirl of investments activity surrounding the ownership of the world's leading hotel group. Marriott International's takeover of Starwood Hotels & Resorts has recently completed, following on from AccorHotel's acquisition of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, while rumours have persistently surfaced around the future ownership of InterContinental Hotels Group.
Marriott International was nearly pushed out of its deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts earlier this year following an 11th-hour counter-bid from the China-based Anbang Insurance Group, which later withdrew its offer.