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HB ON THE SCENE: Wyndham To Acquire Microtel, Hawthorn

Tuesday June 3rd, 2008 - 9:28AM

NEW YORK— Wyndham Worldwide Corp. last night took advantage of the sweeping panoramic view from atop the Top of the Rock here to let the world know it would be acquiring US Franchise Systems, Inc. and its Hawthorn Suites and Microtel Inns and Suites brands from Chicago-based Global Hyatt Corp. A purchase price was not disclosed. The deal will deliver a total of more than 29,000 rooms across a wide distribution network and would mark Wyndhams entry into the extended-stay arena with 91 properties. The Microtel brand currently consists of 292 new-construction properties. Steven Rudnitsky, Wyndham Hotel Group chairman/CEO, told HOTEL BUSINESS, the brand acquisitions would be "very consistent with our products. The Microtel product is clearly number one in the economy segment and this will really give us a chance to take all of the experience and scale that we have and leverage that to grow that brand." He added: "Hawthorn Suites is a natural line extension for us. Getting into extended-stay makes all the sense in the world for us. Well have a lot of room to run with 91 properties and weve got a lot of great franchisees throughout our system who will be very interested in the extended-stay product." Stephen Holmes, Wyndham Worldwide chairman/CEO, described the move to HOTEL BUSINESS as "right up our power alley. Its a franchise system thats 100% franchised with no real estate ownership. Thats exactly what we do and have done successfully." Although Wyndham has similar products like Travelodge and Super 8, Holmes did not see the Microtel piece as redundant nor an impact threat. "Its a great brand, all new construction; a very clean brand. The fact is that competition for hoteliers is at every street corner...as long as you stay true to your brand and you live to the standards you establish for the brand, there should not be any impact." The transaction is expected to close within the next 60 days. Global Hyatt is slated to provide support services during the transition.—Stefani C. OConnor