Chinese conglomerate acquires US$6.5 billion worth of Hilton stake
THE Chinese are traveling more than they ever have, and make up a significant portion of the global tourism market.
In a power move, Chinese group HNA becomes Hilton Worldwide’s largest shareholder after reaching an agreement to acquire 25 percent of the hotel company from Blackstone Group.
The company’s chief executive Adam Tan said that this latest move by HNA is part of the group’s efforts to become a “global tourism business”.
Travel Weekly reported that as part of the deal, HNA will also own 25 percent of real estate investment trust Park Hotels & Resorts as well as 25 percent of timeshare operator Hilton Grand Vacations, both which are expected to be spun off from Hilton Worldwide by year end.
HNA is one of China’s biggest tourism companies, and has nearly 2,000 hotels and 1,250 aircrafts worldwide, and rakes in about US$30 billion in annual revenues.
This is not the first time a Chinse company has shown interest in a major hotel chain. In November last year, Chinese insurance giant Ambang made a bid to buy off Starwood Hotels & Resorts with an all-cash offer.
However, Marriott came up with a counter offer, leading to the Starwood-Marriott merger, the world’s largest hotel group.
Forbes reported that “a subsidiary of Jin Jiang International Hotel Group, known as Plateno Group Europe, said it was expanding its lower-cost hotel presence in countries like the Czech Republic”.
The report added that Plateno owns over 3,500 hotel rooms in China, and is looking to expand to Europe to meet a growing demand.
It was also quoted that China outbound travel is expected to rise by seven percent year-over-year on average, to around 200 million annually by 2020.
Over 18 million mainland Chinese crossed the borders to overseas destinations in the last three months. In the business travel market, China is the world’s biggest, finishing the end of last year with a whopping US$291.2 billion in travel spend.