London & Regional Properties Ltd. is in talks to buy 47 U.K. hotels valued at more than 550 million pounds ($800 million) from Lone Star Funds, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

The London-based developer is the preferred bidder for the hotels, almost all of which are operated by Holiday Inn Express, the people said, asking not to be identified because an agreement hasn’t yet been reached. Another company may still beat L&R to buy the lodgings, one of the people said.

Spokesmen at L&R and Lone Star weren’t available to comment, while a representative for Eastdil Secured LLC, which is marketing the assets, declined to comment. A spokesman at InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, which owns the Holiday Inn Express brand, declined to comment.

European hotel transactions rose to a record in 2015 as buyers sought to invest in an industry that’s benefiting from growing travel, and as sellers took advantage of high prices. Deals jumped 79 percent last year to a record 22.8 billion euros, according to data compiled by CBRE Group Inc. The U.K. led with 9.3 billion euros of transactions, more than twice as much as a year earlier.

Hotel occupancy in the U.K. is the second-highest among Europe’s 15 biggest markets after Ireland, according to data compiled by data provider STR. Hotels in the country were 73 percent full in the first quarter.

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