Blackstone’s Hilton raises $2.35 billion in record hotel IPO

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the world’s biggest hotel operator, raised $2.35 billion in a record initial public offering for a lodging company.

The company and existing shareholders sold about 117.6 million shares for $20 each, according to a statement Wednesday. The McLean, Va., company had offered 112.8 million shares for $18 to $21 apiece.

Blackstone Group is taking advantage of U.S. stocks near highs and a rebound in the hotel market to take Hilton public six years after acquiring it for $26 billion at the end of the buyout boom. Since the New York-based private equity firm purchased Hilton, the company has expanded its room count by a third, most of it outside the U.S. and in franchised and managed hotels, which require almost no capital investment.

“Hilton has been focused on re-establishing its industry leader status,” Lukas Hartwich, lodging analyst at Green Street Advisors Inc. in Newport Beach, wrote in a report. “Future growth has shifted to primarily non-U.S. markets.”

At the IPO price, Hilton will have a stock market value of about $19.7 billion, based on the original terms in the prospectus, eclipsing Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Marriott International Inc. and Hyatt Hotels Corp.

Blackstone’s paper profit on the deal, once seen as a money-loser, ranks as the second-biggest ever among private-equity buyouts.

Based on the roughly $6.5 billion that Blackstone and its investors put into Hilton, the valuation would give the firm a gain of $8.5 billion. If Hilton shares rise past $22.11, the firm’s paper profit would surpass the record $10.1 billion that Apollo Global Management has reaped from its investment in chemicals producer LyondellBasell Industries.

Hilton could raise an additional $353 million if underwriters sell extra shares to meet demand, increasing the total amount of the IPO to $2.7 billion. That would make it the second-largest U.S. IPO this year, after Plains GP Holdings, an affiliate of an oil and gas pipeline company that raised $2.91 billion in October. Hilton surpassed Hyatt’s $1.09-billion sale in November 2009 as the biggest lodging IPO, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

After the IPO, Blackstone will hold about 750.6 million Hilton shares, according to the prospectus, a stake of 76.2% that is valued at about $15 billion.

Although Hilton owns 10 hotel brands including DoubleTree, Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn, it lacks a “boutique” brand to compete with Starwood’s W Hotels. Hilton also owns stakes in or leases 156 hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria in New York and the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.

Hilton dates to 1919, when founder Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in Cisco, Texas.

Blackstone’s Hilton raises $2.35 billion in record hotel IPO was last modified: December 15th, 2013 by Brian Halstrom

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