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Starwood Capital’s Sternlicht Said to Prepare Share Sale

Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht
Barry Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive officer of Starwood Capital Group. Photographer: Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

Barry Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive officer of Starwood Capital Group LLC, has spoken to banks as he prepares to sell shares of the property-investment firm to investors, a person familiar with the matter said.

Starwood probably will sell a minority stake in an initial public offering, said the person, asking not to be named because talks are private. Sternlicht told Bloomberg Television in December 2012 he was considering a stake sale to raise cash and finance new businesses. In November, he said he may consider IPOs of some of Starwood’s holdings.

Sternlicht, 53, has hired more staff at Greenwich, Connecticut-based Starwood in recent years to pursue investments. The firm has been buying shopping malls and office properties, with the CEO saying he’s “bullish” on commercial real estate because of its attractive yields.

Tom Johnson, a Starwood Capital spokesman with Abernathy MacGregor Group, declined to comment on Starwood Capital’s plan.

Starwood Capital has raised about $23 billion of equity since inception, and bought more than $45 billion in assets, according to a January statement. The preparations for a stock sale were reported earlier yesterday by the Wall Street Journal.

“I think you might see our mall business go public, maybe some of our hotels,” Sternlicht said in the November interview with Bloomberg Television. “We own more than 100 hotels in the U.S. and building a bunch. It’s a good time to be public.”

He founded the firm in 1991 after working for Chicago-based JMB Realty Corp. He started the company now known as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in 1995, running it until 2004 when he stepped down as CEO to become executive chairman. He resigned in 2005. Starwood Hotels, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is no longer affiliated with Starwood Capital.

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