• Blackstone shows appetite in Germany and beyond

Private equity group Blackstone has decided to start selling German hotels after striking two major portfolio acquisitions in that country in 2006 with the purchase of 14 hotels that were part of Deutsche InterHotels and the separate purchase of nine Accor hotels.

It was announced last week that Blackstone had agreed to sell the 301-room Nikko Dusseldorf to Benson Elliot for Eu114m, hot on the heels of the completion of the InterHotels transaction.

No price was revealed for the 4,500 room in the InterHotel portfolio. However, Aareal Bank, which had a 33% shareholding in InterHotel, said it was in the three digit euro range. It expects to receive an upper double digit million euro profit on the deal.

The other major shareholder in InterHotel, which was the former East German state hotel group, was Deutsche Bank with a close to 46% interest. The other major portfolio deal by Blackstone was buying 1,374 rooms under Accor brands from closed fund Dr Peters.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, German hotel investments topped Eu2.3bn in 2006, a record year and well up on the Eu792m in 2005. Portfolio deals were Eu900m worth or 39% of the total.

It was also announced this week that Blackstone has bought the Copenhagen Marriott hotel, which was 51% owned by Marriott International and 49% by Nykredit. The deal was brokered by Molinaro Koger.

The scale of Blackstone outside of the hotel arena was further demonstrated last week when it won the bidding contest for US-based Equity Office Properties Trust. Blackstone is paying $39bn for the office REIT.

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