London-based hotel group Le Meridien is to be bought by a joint venture between Lehman Brothers and Starwood Capital.
After lengthy negotiations, Starwood Capital confirmed the terms of the deal following speculation that an agreement between the three parties had nearly been reached.
Caterer exclusively revealed that the deal, which had been on the table for sometime, was in its final stages this week.
The joint venture will acquire the 130 hotels in Le Meridien portfolio, including 36 owned hotels, except for the Forte Village in Sardinia.
Starwood Hotels will take over the brand, management and franchise, but the hotels will retain the Le Meridien badge.
Robert Riley, chief executive of Le Meridien, said: "Le Meridien's alignment with a robust multi-branded management company such as Starwood Hotels should enable the Le Meridien brand and its hotels to thrive by enhancing revenue and accelerating growth.
"The joint venture with Lehman Brothers and Starwood Capital Group should provide a financially strong structure for the current owned and leased portfolio.
"Providing an independent ownership structure for the Forte Village should create new potential for this world famous property."
The deal is still subject to the approval of Starwood Hotels, Lehman Brothers, Starwood Capital and Le Meridien boards.
The majority of Le Meridien's properties are located in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.