InterContinental Hotels Said to Explore Deal After Interest

  • Company discussing options including sale, merger, purchases
  • England-based provider of hotel lodging worth $9.9 billion

Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels Group Plc is exploring strategic options including a potential sale or merger after attracting interest amid a boom in lodging deals, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Denham, England-based company, which has a market value of about 6.5 billion pounds ($9.9 billion), is discussing with financial advisers whether to sell itself or combine with a competitor as the sector consolidates, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. No final decision has been made and the company may choose to stay independent and could focus on making acquisitions of its own, the people said.

“Following recent market speculation, the board of directors of IHG states that it is not considering a potential sale or merger of the company,” according to an e-mailed statement Friday.

The company’s shares climbed 6.2 percent to 2,774 pence at the close in London.

Global lodging transactions have increased 13 percent to more than $28 billion in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the parent of the Westin and St. Regis brands, hired an adviser earlier this year to help explore strategic options and is currently the subject of a bidding war.

HNA Group Co., hotelier Jin Jiang International (Holdings) Co. and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. are vying to acquire Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month. CNBC reported last week that Hyatt Hotels Corp. is in advanced talks to buy the chain. Another major competitor in lodging is Wyndham Worldwide Corp., which owns the Ramada chain.

InterContinental, owner of the Crowne Plaza and Indigo chains, has been the subject of speculation that it could combine with another player. The company in July said it isn’t in merger talks with Starwood after the Financial Times reported that negotiations had taken place. InterContinental is also in talks to buy Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, owner of Singapore’s Raffles hotels, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Shares of InterContinental are up 7 percent this year, compared with a 16 percent decline in the benchmark Bloomberg World Lodging Index.

The company reported last month that third-quarter room revenue rose 4.8 percent from a year earlier, thanks to increases in all regions except Greater China.

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