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Strategic Rises to 7-Month High on Report It’s for Sale

Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc., the owner of luxury lodgings including the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay in California and Manhattan’s JW Marriott Essex House New York, jumped the most in seven months following a report that the company may put itself up for sale.

Strategic, based in Chicago, hired brokerage Eastdil Secured LLC to help explore selling the firm, Reuters reported today, citing two sources familiar with the matter that it didn’t identify. The move comes after the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Laurence Geller in November.

Geller’s departure from the Chicago-based owner of resorts run by the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton chains may open the door for potential buyers, Will Marks, a San Francisco-based analyst at JMP Securities LLC, said at the time. Geller is barred under the terms of his separation agreement from making his own bid for the company for 18 months.

The stock gained 9.5 percent to $8.44, the most since Nov. 5. The shares have climbed 32 percent this year.

Strategic holds stakes in luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons Jackson Hole in Wyoming and Four Seasons Silicon Valley in California. In September, Strategic bought Essex House, an 80-year-old hotel on Central Park South in Manhattan, for $362.3 million. Strategic formed a partnership with KSL Capital Partners LLC to fund the acquisition.

Strategic Hotels Chief Financial Officer Diane Morefield and Megan Hakes, a spokeswoman for the hotelier, didn’t immediately return telephone messages seeking comment on a possible sale. Lawrence Wolfe, an Eastdil senior managing director, declined to comment.

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