Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) is attempting to sell boutique hotel chains Malmaison and Hotel du Vin for the third time in 18 months for a combined asking price of more than £650m, it emerged today.
The Bank of America has quietly started to re-contact interested parties in recent weeks on behalf of MWB, although it is marketing the two brands as separate entities rather than a dual offer, according to The Times.
In November, MWB will open its 12th Malmaison, in Aberdeen, while Hotel du Vin has three more openings in the pipeline over the next four months - in Poole, Dorset, in Newcastle and in Edinburgh - that will take the total to 14.
It has also recently acquired properties in Canterbury and St Andrews for conversion to the Hotel du Vin concept and has said that it expects to have 14 Malmaisons and 18 Hotel du Vin properties by 2010.
In June last year, a deal to sell the underlying assets to a real estate investment trust, Vector Hospitality, fell through forcing Vector to scrap a proposed £2b flotation.
Investors rumoured to be interested in one or both chains include Quinlan Private, R20, Lydian Capital and Permira, as well as hotel operator Marriott International, which was close to agreeing a deal at the £700m asking price, according to The Times, only for chief executive Bill Marriott to change his mind at the 11th hour.
By Gemma Sharkey
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