• Wyndham ties-up with Corinthia

Wyndham Worldwide, the hotel and timeshare operations span-off from Cendant this summer, is to partner with Malta’s Corinthia Group in EMEA countries.
   But Wyndham is struggling to convince investors back home of its future plans and its share price languishes almost a fifth lower than when it first started trading on the NYSE on August 1.
   Corinthia’s deal to tie-up with a bigger brand name was flagged in last week’s HA Perspective Online. The terms of the deal sees 15 properties rebranded as Ramada Plaza or Wyndham. Some of the five remaining luxury Corinthia hotels will also be affiliated with a new brand, the Wyndham Grand Collection.
   The move will see Wyndham take a 30% stake in Corinthia in return for cash and a capital injection in CHI, the hotel management company of Corinthia.
   It was also confirmed by Corinthia Group’s hotel property wing International Hotel Investments that Kuwaiti property company, the National Real Estate Company, has completed the first part of its agreement that should see up to Eu110m injected into IHI.
   NREC is listed in both Dubai and Kuwait with a market cap of $1.5bn. It has a majority shareholding in warehousing company PWC Logistics and owns and manages one of Kuwait’s largest shopping centres. IHI is to be NREC’s vehicle for future hotel investments.
   For Wyndham, however, recent financial coverage has not been so positive. In particular, it was revealed this week that corporate raider Carl Icahn had taken a 1% stake in Wyndham’s former parent Cendant. Following the spin-off, it is unclear on which part of the three now separately listed parts of Cendant that Icahn now has his eyes on.
   Whatever Icahn’s moves, Wall Street is tipping all three parts of Cendant to end-up in private equity hands shortly.
   The travel business wing of Cendant, Travelport, has already been bought by Blackstone for $4.3bn prior to the spin-offs. And Blackstone was the buyer of the Wyndham hotel property assets back in 2004, selling on the brand to Cendant, which makes Blackstone an obvious possible bidder.
   A previous suitor of Wyndham was Bass, the former parent of InterContinental, back in 2001 when it was seen to have bulging pockets with which to make acquisitions.
   Were InterContinental in the market to make acquisitions of this size – which it isn’t – Wyndham this time around would fit even more neatly, comprising as it does of almost entirely franchised brands, mostly positioned below Express.

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