China’s HNA Group Buys 15% of Red Lion Hotels

HNA Group, the Chinese parent of Hainan Airlines, acquired a 15 percent stake in Red Lion Hotels Corp. from a Seattle-based investment fund to expand in North American lodging brands and properties.

A unit of HNA bought 2.99 million common shares of Red Lion from a fund run by Columbia Pacific Advisors, according to a statement Tuesday. Columbia Pacific now holds 12.6 percent of Red Lion, according to the statement.

Red Lion, based in Spokane, Washington, has 130 mid-scale and full-service hotels in 31 states. The stock has climbed 29 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 10 percent return for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and a 20 percent return for the S&P Supercomposite Hotels Index.

The price for HNA’s stake wasn’t disclosed. At Red Lion’s close Tuesday of $7.21, the sale would be valued at $21.5 million.

HNA Group is a holding company based in Haikou and Beijing. Besides China’s fourth-largest airline, the company’s businesses include travel services, retailing, financial services, media and transportation.

Hainan Airlines is increasing service between China and the U.S. Flights from San Jose, California, to Beijing began this week, while nonstop service from Boston to Shanghai starts June 20, according to Joel Chusid, who oversees the U.S. for the airline. Flights from Seattle to Shanghai start June 22.

Columbia Pacific manages more than $1 billion in alternatives to stocks and bonds, according to its website. The company was started in 2006 to manage investments for the family of Daniel Baty, who helped found Emeritus Corp., an operator of assisted-living communities that was sold to Brookdale Senior Living Inc. last July.

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