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Rezidor SAS and Carlson Enhance Partnership

Rezidor SAS Hospitality, the
Brussels-based wholly-owned subsidiary of the SAS Group, today jointly
announced with US-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide, that they have signed an
agreement which results in an enhancement of their long-time franchise
partnership into a shareholder agreement. The basis of the agreement will see Carlson Hotels acquire a 25 percent
shareholding in Rezidor SAS from SAS Group in return for renegotiated
commercial terms of the parties’ current Master Franchise Agreement (MFA).
The MFA is the agreement between Rezidor SAS and Carlson by which Rezidor
manages Carlson Hotel brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
These brands have included Radisson SAS, Park Inn, Regent International
Hotels and Country Inns & Suites.

Rezidor SAS first signed an agreement with Carlson in 1994 for the first
class Radisson brand. The combined brand, Radisson SAS, that was created
from that MFA has been the vehicle that has turned Rezidor SAS into one of
the fastest growing hotel management companies in the world today.

The success of this initial Radisson SAS partnership then led to Rezidor
SAS and Carlson signing a further multi-brand MFA agreement in 2002 that
added three other Carlson brands to the Rezidor SAS portfolio - Regent,
Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites. This has proved to be another
sparkling success story that has seen the high volume mid-market brand
Park Inn, grow from zero to over 60 properties in just two years in the
EMEA region; while also facilitating the re-launch of the luxury brand
Regent, with Rezidor SAS adding two new landmark hotels, in Berlin and
Zagreb, to the global Regent portfolio.

As a result Rezidor SAS has grown from 29 Radisson SAS hotels, when the
original agreement was signed in 1994, to now having in total 245 hotels
open or under development.

This new deal, which is pending regulatory approval and is expected to
take place in the first half of 2005, has an option for Rezidor SAS to use
the Carlson brands to 2052, an increase of twenty years on the previous
agreement. It will now bring the two companies even closer together and
allow for stronger brand alignment on a global basis.


“Carlson Hotels Worldwide is a strategic partner within the global
hospitality sector for Rezidor SAS. The SAS Group will maintain the
majority holding and control over Rezidor SAS, while also strengthening
the strategic business platform. It will bring additional scale and
profitability to Rezidor SAS and further enhance its development
opportunities,” said Mr. Gunnar Reitan, Executive Vice President and
Deputy CEO of the SAS Group and Chairman of Rezidor SAS.

Mr. Curtis Nelson, President of Carlson Companies, parent company of
Carlson Hotels Worldwide, said: “We are pleased to announce this important
investment as a demonstration of our strategic commitment to the hotel
business as a key part of Carlson’s future growth plans and our respect
for our partners at SAS.”

Mr. Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor SAS further commented that:
“We’ve proven that this is a partnership that works. When we initially
signed a deal with Carlson back in 1994, we were a small hotel group with
only 29 properties. Now we operate the key global Carlson Hotel brands
throughout Europe the Middle East and Africa, with a portfolio of 245
hotels in 47 countries, and we’re on track to reach our target of 700
properties by 2012. This deal will help to support this growth and I see
it as a fantastic opportunity for everybody at Rezidor SAS and all the
stakeholders involved in this new venture.”

Mr. Jay S. Witzel, President & CEO of Carlson Hotels Worldwide added:
“This deal is an exciting next step in our successful partnership with
Rezidor SAS which will more closely align our two companies for the
benefit of our brands, customers and employees.” Globally, Carlson Hotels
Worldwide includes nearly 900 locations in 69 countries under five brands.

The deal will give Carlson two seats on the six-member board of Rezidor