China's HNA to buy owner of Radisson hotel chain

The Radisson Martinique hotel in Manhattan in New York, US. HNA Group's deal with the US-based Carlson Hotels, the owner of the Radisson hotel chain, will nearly quadruple the number of its hotels around the world.
The Radisson Martinique hotel in Manhattan in New York, US. HNA Group's deal with the US-based Carlson Hotels, the owner of the Radisson hotel chain, will nearly quadruple the number of its hotels around the world.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG • A division of Chinese aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA Group has agreed to buy the owner of the Radisson hotel chain in a deal that will nearly quadruple the number of its hotels around the world.

HNA Tourism Group, part of HNA Group, will buy 100 per cent of United States-based Carlson Hotels for an undisclosed sum, including its 51.3 per cent stake in Rezidor Hotel Group, the companies said late on Wednesday.

The deal will give HNA hotel brands including Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites and 1,400 hotels in 115 countries, adding to its current portfolio of 500 hotels.

The companies did not disclose the deal value, though Bloomberg said last month Carlson could fetch about US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion).

Chinese companies have been on a buying spree this year, targeting assets from hotels to chipmakers to chemicals firms as they diversify out of their slowing home market.

Announced outbound Chinese mergers and acquisitions have already reached US$94.8 billion this year, compared with the record US$103.6 billion for last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Prior to HNA's deal, Fosun International bought France's Club Mediterranee while Anbang Insurance Group acquired the famous Waldorf Astoria in New York.

HNA Tourism chief executive Bai Haibo said the company would build on the well-known Radisson brand to help "establish our presence in the US market and expand our footprint in hospitality internationally".

Carlson Hotels has 1,400 properties with more than 220,000 rooms under operation and development in 115 countries and territories.

Besides Radisson, Radisson Blu and Radisson Red, the company owns the Quorvus Collection, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson and the Club Carlson frequent-guest programme.

After the deal, HNA will have to decide whether to sell down its holding in Rezidor Hotel Group to below 30 per cent or launch a mandatory public tender for the remaining 48.7 per cent of the company, the firms said in the statement.

Under the stewardship of co-founder and chairman Chen Feng, HNA has grown into a group with nearly US$100 billion in assets.

Founded in 1993, it operates more than a dozen airlines, including flagship Hainan Airlines and has launched at least US$8 billion of overseas mergers and acquisitions so far this year. REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'China's HNA to buy owner of Radisson hotel chain'. Print Edition | Subscribe