Hilton selects banks to lead initial public offering: sources

Wed Aug 7, 2013 10:05pm EDT
 
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By Greg Roumeliotis and Ilaina Jonas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP has selected banks to lead an initial public offering of Hilton Worldwide Inc as it prepares to bring one of the largest leveraged buyouts back to the stock market, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The IPO of the hotel operator is expected to come in the first half of 2014, two of the people said.

Hilton has selected Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Bank of America Corp and Morgan Stanley to lead the deal, the three sources told Reuters.

Hilton, Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Hilton's return to the stock market could come at an opportune time. A recovery in demand for hotel rooms coupled with little new supply has led to a boom in the hotel industry, according to Lukas Hartwich, a hotel analyst at Green Street Advisors.

"We are kind of entering new territory. The story has been driven by pretty strong demand growth, not as robust as prior recoveries, and very low supply growth and that has worked out well for hotel operators," he said.

Blackstone took Hilton private in 2007 in a $26.7 billion deal that was one of the largest leveraged buyouts that preceded the 2008 global financial crisis.

Once seen an example of the perils of buying large companies through excessive borrowing, Hilton was cited by Blackstone as a real estate investment that has seen "a substantial recovery in performance" at its public investor day in May, held at the Hilton-owned Waldorf Astoria in New York.   Continued...

 
An exterior shot of the Hilton Midtown in New York June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly