City sources and The Times newspaper have reported that the the Hong Kong-based owner of the five-star Langham Hotel in London has emerged as a surprise frontrunner in the £450m-plus auction of De Vere Group’s Village Urban Resorts chain.
Great Eagle Group, one of Asia’s biggest property groups, is understood to be up against two private equity firms, KKR and KSL Capital Partners, as the final round of bidding kicks off this week. Sources suggest the auction of the 25 Village hotels, which is being handled by JPMorgan Cazenove, attracted around 20 bids, with offers in the second round being pitched at between £450m and £470m.
The Times also reported that two of Europe’s biggest budget hotel operators could end up being merged after Accor emerged as a bidder in the €1.5bn auction of Louvre Hotels Group, its French rival.
Louvre Hotels, which has more than 1,100 hotels in 43 countries was recently put up for sale by Starwood Capital, the US private equity firm, through Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. The business, valued at between €1.2bn and €1.5bn, is also thought to have attracted preliminary interest from private equity firms including Blackstone, Apollo Global Management, CVC Capital Partners, PAI Partners and Fonciere des Murs.
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