New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX), is said to be exploring the sale of some hotels operated under the Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE: HLT) DoubleTree brand in London, Dublin and Amsterdam for about $1.1 billion, Bloomberg reported.
The move comes two weeks after Blackstone’s GSO Capital Partners was said to have hired Rothschild to explore the sale of its portfolio company, the Miller Group, one of the UK’s leading home-builders, for approximately £700 million.
Blackstone’s concurrent strategic shift involving British real estate disposals, may be prompted to some extent by market uncertainties caused by the UK’s European Union Brexit referendum being held on June 23.
Under a front page headline “Queen Backs Brexit“, The Sun recently quoted anonymous sources who suggest the monarch has expressed concerns about the UK in Europe, purportedly favoring the UK exiting from the EU.
“The Queen remains politically neutral, as she has for 63 years. We would never comment on spurious, anonymously sourced claims. The referendum will be a matter for the British people,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“The ‘Brexit’ referendum is the most important vote in Europe in a half-century,” says The Washington Post. The referendum will decide whether “Brexit” — Britain’s exit — occurs. “Americans should pay close attention because this debate concerns matters germane to their present and future,” The Post added.
Blackstone is a global leader in real estate investing. The firm’s real estate business was founded in 1991 and has $92 billion in investor capital under management.
Blackstone is also Hilton’s biggest shareholder. A year ago Blackstone sold 90 million shares in the hotel chain, a stake reportedly worth close to $3 billion at the time, reducing its stake in the company from 55% to 46%.
Blackstone has reportedly given broker Eastdil Secured LLC a mandate to sell the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Tower of London, valued at about 350 million pounds ($510 million), said Bloomberg citing anonymous sources, while Eastdil and CBRE Hotels are offering the Amsterdam property, valued at about 340 million euros ($378 million). The sale of the former Burlington hotel in Dublin, valued at about 180 million euros ($200 million), is said to be handled by Savills.
Earlier in May, Blackstone also agreed to sell Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. for $6.5 billion, to China’s Anbang Insurance Group. Strategic Hotels & Resorts is an owner and asset manager of the highest quality portfolio of upper-upscale and luxury hotels and resorts. Its current portfolio of 16 hotels and resorts are found in desirable and high-barrier-to-entry urban and resort markets in the United States.
Strategic Hotels’ resort properties include the Fairmont and Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Del Coronado in San Diego, the Loews Santa Monica Beach, Montage Laguna Beach, Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in California.
Strategic’s urban properties include the Fairmont and Intercontinental Chicago, Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, Four Seasons Hotel in Silicon Valley, Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., Intercontinental in Miami, JW Marriott Essex House in New York and The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco.
Blackstone’s real estate portfolio includes hotel, office, retail, industrial and residential properties in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Major investments include Hilton Worldwide, Invitation Homes (single family homes), Logicor (pan-European logistics), SCP (Chinese shopping malls), and prime office buildings in the world’s major cities.
Blackstone real estate also operates one of the leading real estate finance platforms, including management of the publicly traded Blackstone Mortgage Trust (BXMT).
Photo: Buckingham Palace complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) that The Sun breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, in an article headlined “Queen Backs Brexit” published on 9 March 2016. IPSO upheld the complaint, and has ordered The Sun to publish its decision as a remedy: “The headline was not supported by the text. It was significantly misleading – given that it suggested a fundamental breach of the Queen’s constitutional obligations – and represented a failure to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information in breach of Clause 1 (i). The complaint under Clause 1 was upheld.”