Property firm Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) today snapped up Hotel du Vin, the chain built up over a number of years by hotelier Robin Hutson.
The £66.4m acquisition will see MWB running the chain alongside its Malmaison brand and, said the company, will make it the UK's "leading player" in lifestyle hotels.
The move also doubles at a stroke MWB's presence in the market, giving it a portfolio of 15 hotels, including two under development.
Hotel du Vin will be managed by the Malmaison team, led by chief executive Robert Cook.
Founders Hutson and Gerard Basset, along with finance director Peter Chittick, will leave once the acquisition has been completed, although operations director Charles Morgan will remain.
MWB stressed it planned to maintain the two brands as distinct entities, with Hotel du Vin continuing to focus on expansion in university and cathedral towns and Malmaison looking mostly at larger cities.
Hotel du Vin is due to open a 42-bedroom hotel in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in March next year, an opening that has been delayed by six months because of planning difficulties.
In its results last month, MWB said it intended to double the number of Malmaisons in its portfolio over the next five years.
In December it intends to open a 64-bedroom Malmaison in Belfast and next autumn a 95-bedroom property in Oxford.
MWB chief executive Richard Balfour-Lynn said: "There are natural synergies between the two businesses as they are both strong design-led brands that place huge emphasis on superior hospitality within funky and unusual buildings in next generation locations that makes each hotel visit an exciting and enjoyable experience.
"We believe that the combined business will be able to expand more quickly and will become the UK's dominant lifestyle hotel group.
"However we do recognise the importance of maintaining both HDV and Malmaison as two distinct and separate brands although there is tremendous scope for cross-fertilisation of business between them."
Both chains regularly deliver revenue per available room 30% higher than their competitors and food and drinks tend to provide between 40% and 60% of revenue, he added.
by Nic Paton
Buy this week's Caterer magazine for more industry news and analysis