• B&B beds Villages

B&B Hotels has bought domestic rival Villages Hotel group as consolidation begins to gain a grip in the economy hotel segment in Europe.

B&B is backed by finance house Eurazeo who after the deal to buy the 61 hotels in the Villages chain will hold 73% of the equity in the enlarged group. The founding group of Villages Hotels ill take a minority position with the rest of the share held by Montefiore Investment and the B&B management team.

The new look B&B will total 13,000 rooms after adding the 4,500 from Villages. Most of the more than 170 hotels are in France but there are 12 in Germany. The combined turnover for the group was Eu130m in 2006.

The acquisition by Eurazeo, which was first intimated in October last year, comes as Louvre Hotels, the Starwood Capital backed group that is the second biggest budget and economy player in France after Accor, looks at growth opportunities.

Similarly, the two dominant budget and economy chains in the UK, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Travel Inn, are looking to extend their presence in continental Europe.

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