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RBS in frame to buy Hilton

11 October 2005

Royal Bank of Scotland is the front-runner in the race to buy 18 Hilton hotels put up for sale in July, according to the Times newspaper.

Host Marriot, the US property arm of Marrriott International and US investment bank Citigroup, are also thought to have made separate bids for the properties, which are valued at about £400m.

Hilton intends to sell the properties as sale-and-manage back contracts.

According to analysts, RBS may have the upper hand as it is Hilton's principal lender and has already bought 11 UK Hiltons under the same conditions.

The bank also appointed Hilton to run the London Waldorf hotel under a profit-related lease two years ago.

CB Richard Ellis hotels is handling the sale which includes the 405-bedroom Hilton Olympia (London) said to be worth about £75m and other properties in Aberdeen, Coventry, Southampton and Belfast.

Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs have pulled out of the auction process.

By Emily Manson

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