Two flamboyant property-dealing brothers could be poised to snap up a group of hotels in a multi-million pound deal.
Starwood Capital Group last month appointed Christie + Co to take 19 of its properties to the market.
The sale, which includes 11 hotels within De Vere Venues, seven Principal Hayley hotels and the Four Pillar’s Oxford hotel, is thought to have attracted at least three bids of around £180m.
Starwood has built up a mixed collection of hotels and conference venues in recent years since acquiring the 23-strong Principal Hayley group for £356m in 2013 and, in 2014, the De Vere Venues Portfolio for £231m and Four Pillars Hotels for around £90m.
CN has exclusively learnt from sources close to the process that the bidders are thought to include multi-millionaires Nick and Christian Candy who are said to have teamed up with ex-De Vere/AHG directors.
Other bidders are thought to include Lonestar Funds Investment Group and Julia Hand’s Handpicked Hotels. The former could like the idea of combining the portfolio with its recently acquired 31 Jurys hotels while the latter will see the fit with some of its heritage venues as desirable.
Jason Kow’s Queensgate group is also thought to have bid.
Starwood are thought to be keen to see the sales complete as soon as possible so that they can complete the reorganisation of the management team under fresh leadership and pull the assets together under one new brand which may include the recently acquired Town House Collection, comprising Blythswood Square in Glasgow and the Bonham in Edinburgh; and a group of five aparthotels in London.
The group is thought to have been bolstered by improved trading and a belief they acquired the businesses at the low point in the cycle with a number of US-led appointments made to shake up the sales and marketing strategy.
The potential appearance of former De Vere/AHG directors in the process is likely to prove controversial after the huge losses incurred by the taxpayer on their watch. It is not known whether Starwood agreed any restrictions with the taxpayer-backed Lloyds Bank which would restrict them from re-acquiring an interest in the business.
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