Pritzker dynasty to float Hyatt

7th Aug 2009
Pritzker dynasty to float Hyatt

One of the world’s richest dynasties is planning to float the Hyatt hotel chain in a bid to raise cash as travellers cut back sharply on luxury spending in the downturn.

The Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which is 85 per cent owned by the secretive Pritzker family of Chicago, hopes to raise as much as $1.15 billion (£685 million) in an initial public offering.

The company has not given a date for the IPO nor disclosed the number of shares in the offer, which is underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan.

According to The Times, the Pritzkers, headed by Thomas Pritzker, chairman of Hyatt, will retain control of the group after the flotation, including having a deciding voice in the selection of directors, and offers of preference shares.

Goldman Sachs and Madrone Capital Partners, a private investment company that manages money for heirs of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, collectively invested $1 billion in Hyatt two years ago. Goldman holds 7.5 percent of the business, while Madrone has 6.1 percent.


In its prospectus, the company said that it intended to use the money raised as working capital and possibly for making acquisitions, although it said that it was not in talks on any specific deal. It also said that no dividends would be paid on the new stock for the foreseeable future.

Hyatt reported a net loss of $36 million in the first half of the year, against a profit of $173 million in the same period last year, as revenues slumped to $1.6 billion from $3.8 billion. Revenue per available room slid by 24 percent after consumers and businesses cut back on travel as the recession bit.

Janet Brashear, an analyst at Bernstein Research, told The Times that a credit squeeze among members of the Pritzker family probably lay behind the floatation.

“Hyatt Hotels Corp doesn’t need capital but the Pritzker family may, or it may stem from a competitive desire to build up the company’s property portfolio at a time when distressed assets are available,” she said.


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