Hilton Hotels Corp. To Buy Hilton Group PLC

NEW YORK— Hilton Hotels Corp. will buy the lodging assets of Hilton Group plc for $5.7 billion in cash, the California-based company confirmed today. HHC inked an agreement to acquire the lodging assets for approximately $5.71 billion (or £3.30 billion) in an all-cash transaction that is expected to close in first quarter pending approval by shareholders and other regulatory conditions. Included in the acquisition are 40 hotel properties currently owned by Hilton Group (most of which are in the U.K. and Europe); 200 leased properties; approximately 160 fee contracts (mostly management contracts) and approximately 80 LivingWell Health Clubs (most of which are managed.) HHC also will acquire full ownership of Hilton HHonors Worldwide and Hilton Reservations Worldwide, which have been 50/50 joint ventures and managed as part of the strategic alliance between the two Hilton entities. HHC will also obtain worldwide ownership of the luxury Conrad Hotels brand, which has operated as a joint venture between the two companies since 2002. Hilton Group will retain its gambling and betting business and is expected to be renamed Ladbrokes plc. The deal will give Hilton a total portfolio of 2,800 hotels representing 475,000 rooms in 80 countries operating under such brand names as Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Scandic and Hilton Grand Vacations Club. The move also would reunite the two entities, which split in 1964 with Hilton Hotels Corp. operating the U.S. properties and Hilton Group, often referred to as Hilton International, operating properties in the rest of the world.