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AccorHotels agrees to buy Mövenpick Hotels for $582 million

Reports last week that AccorHotels was close to buying Switzerland's Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts have now been confirmed in a deal worth around $582 million.

Mövenpick manages more than 20,000 rooms in more than 83 hotels across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It is owned by Mövenpick Holdings and the Saudi-based Kingdom Group.

The acquisition follows a string of deals that AccorHotels has made to grow scale. Some of its acquisitions have been in core traditional hospitality (FRHI Hotels and Resorts and Mantis Group, to name two deals) and in tangential businesses like its April acquisition of Glasgow-based ResDiary, a restaurant reservation and table management platform.

"With the acquisition of Mövenpick, we are consolidating our leadership in the European market and are further accelerating our growth in emerging markets, in particular in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific," said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels. "The Mövenpick brand is the perfect combination of modernity and authenticity and ideally complements our portfolio. Its European-Swiss heritage is a perfect fit with AccorHotels. By joining the group, it will benefit from AccorHotels’ power, particularly in terms of distribution, loyalty-building and development."

Bazin added that the Mövenpick transaction is representative of AccorHotels' forward strategy "to seize tactical opportunities to strengthen our positions and consolidate our leaderships, as well as leverage our growth."

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. It should be completed during the second half of 2018.

AccorHotels' acquisitive ascent is aided by the spin-off of its property arm, AccorInvest. In February, AccorHotels sold off 55 percent of its real estate business for €4.4 billion to a group of sovereign and institutional investors.

According to Mövenpick, it plans to open 42 additional hotels (11,000 rooms) by 2021, with a majority of the expansion in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

On its website, Mövenpick calls itself "a modern, upscale hospitality company that is passionate about ‘making moments’, recognizing that small gestures make a big difference to our guests, our owners and our people."

In a statement, the company noted that having access to AccorHotels' loyalty program, Le Club AccorHotels, would benefit the chain from a sales standpoint and operational performance of its properties.

The deal will likely net Kingdom Holdings and its founder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, which owns around a third of Mövenpick, a tidy sum. Prince Alwaleed is Saudi Arabia's most recognized business figure, and was held captive as part of an anti-corruption sweep along with other prominent Saudi business leaders at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel for three months on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is Alwaleed's cousin. He was freed on January 27th after purportedly paying a sum of as much as $6 billion.

In March, Kingdom sold its stake in the Four Seasons hotel in the Syrian capital Damascus to a businessman linked to President Bashar al-Assad, according to reports.

Earlier this year it also sold its stake in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut for around $100-115 million including debt, as reported by Reuters.

Since 2007, Cascade Investment, Bill Gates' real estate investment arm, along with Kingdom have been majority owners of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

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