French hotel giant Accor has announced it has sold its United States economy hotels division to an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII.
The deal is valued at $1.9bn and includes both Motel 6 and Studio 6, an extended-stay economy chain, and comprises 1.102 hotels (107.347 rooms) in the USA and in Canada.
“I am delighted by the transaction signed with Blackstone, which ensures the future of Motel 6 and its teams in North America, where we will remain present with luxury and upscale flagships under the Sofitel and Novotel brands,” said Denis Hennequin, Accor chairman and chief executive.
“This deal will provide Accor with additional resources to address the tremendous growth potential in the Asia Pacific region, in Latin America and in Europe, where the leadership of our brands is one of the key drivers of our future growth.”
This transaction strengthens the group’s economic model and follows Accor’s decision to reduce capital employed in Motel 6 and Studio 6, as announced in September 2011.
The transaction also reinforces Accor’s asset-light profile and further reduces the volatility of the group’s results, with franchise and management contracts accounting for more than 54 per cent of the pro forma total room portfolio as of March 2012.
As a result of the transaction, Accor will reduce its net debt by approximately €330m and its fixed-lease commitments by c. €525 million.
Jonathan Gray, global head of Real Estate at Blackstone, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to acquire Motel 6 and we look forward to working with its employees and franchisees.
“Although Motel 6 will be operated on a stand-alone basis, similar to other lodging investments we have made on behalf of our investors, we plan to invest significant capital in the Company’s properties and to accelerate the expansion of the franchise base.”