Starwood Hotels today (25/08/2005) announced an agreement to acquire the Le Meridien hotel brand and management business, with an investment group led by former Starwood chief Barry Sternlicht expected to acquire Le Meridien’s owned and leased properties.
Starwood has invested in Le Meridien since early last year, when it purchased $1.3 billion of the financially troubled Le Meridien’s debt. The Le Meridien portfolio consists of more than 130 full-service, upscale hotels in 56 countries. Starwood owns, manages or franchises about 750 hotels in 80 countries under such brand names as Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, and W. The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to close in the third quarter.
Separately but in conjunction with the Starwood Hotels deal, affiliates of Lehman Brothers and Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group Global are forming a joint venture to buy Le Meridien’s owned and leased properties.