Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), one of the world`s largest hotel and leisure companies, announced today the sale of its leasehold position in the Westin Central Park South Hotel in New York City to Bass Hotels and Resorts, the hotel business of Bass PLC of the United Kingdom, for $62.5 million. Starwood purchased the 207-room luxury property in January 1998 along with three other former Ritz Carlton properties located in Aspen, Houston and Washington, D.C., using primarily its stock.
“When we purchased the hotel we did not own a luxury or Westin branded property in the important New York City market,” said Barry S. Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive of Starwood. “In addition to the Westin Central Park South, we bought three other outstanding Ritz assets as part of the package. With our subsequent purchase of ITT Corporation later that year we added the world renowned St. Regis Hotel and three other Manhattan properties including the 2000 room NY Sheraton and Manhattan complex. Since that time, we were awarded the management contract on the Essex House, which is now a Westin property. The Essex House, which is nearly triple the size of the Westin Central Park South with significantly larger public space and meeting room space, better represents the Westin brand. In addition, Starwood was awarded the management contract for what is likely to be a world renowned Westin property in the United States, an 850-room hotel in Times Square currently being developed by the Tischman Company and expected to be completed by 2001. Today we own a significant amount of New York City real estate and we have solid representation for all our brands. Most importantly, this transaction was accomplished at a very significant EBITDA multiple premium to our current stock price and highlights the value of Starwood`s extraordinary assets,” Mr. Sternlicht said. “The sale of the Westin Central Park South reduces some of the brand confusion that results from having two great Westin properties on Central Park South, a few hundred yards from each other,” Mr. Sternlicht concluded.
Following this sale Starwood Hotels and Resorts will own nearly 4,000 rooms in New York City at seven properties, and will have management contracts on four additional properties with more than 2,000 rooms.
Starwood, through its St. Regis/Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton, Four Points and W subsidiaries, is one of the leading hotel companies in the world with more than 700 hotels in 72 countries and 130,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.