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HHC to take over Hilton Group after 40-year gap

20 October 2005
HHC to take over Hilton Group after 40-year gap

Hilton Group this week tried to play down speculation that chief executive David Michels would step down if its hotel division were taken over by US-based Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC).

"It's pure speculation at this stage," a Hilton spokeswoman said. "No deal is even in place."

The £3.6b sale, which would see the two Hilton companies reunited after 40 years, does not include Hilton Group's Ladbrokes betting arm. Discussions between the two parties are expected to last a further two months.

Hilton Group confirmed last week that a bid had been tabled by HHC after the story was leaked to two national newspapers.

The spokeswoman denied any other players had expressed an interest since the deal became public. "There are no other bidders on the horizon. HHC is the natural partner," she said.

\* Several private equity companies are planning a bid for Ladbrokes, estimated to be worth in the region of £3.7b. The speculation comes as Ladbrokes is reportedly planning to table a bid of its own for Rank Group, owner of Mecca Bingo and Hard Rock Café.

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