December 16, 2015 / 10:20 PM / in 2 years

Hilton to spin off hotel properties into REIT: source

(Reuters) - Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc (HLT.N) plans to spin off its hotel properties into a REIT, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The spinoff will be tax free and the company has already sought the blessing of the Internal Revenue Service, the person said.

Hilton, which owns the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotel chains, was not immediately available to comment.

The transaction could involve a large chunk of the hotels Hilton owns, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The spinoff could be announced as soon as early next year, according to the WSJ, which first reported the news.

Hilton, which owns or leases 147 hotels around the world, raised its full-year profit forecast in October, helped by higher occupancy and room rates.

Hilton’s shares spiked as much as 11 percent after the WSJ report, which came just before the markets closed on Wednesday. The stock closed up 5.2 percent at $22.45.

Reporting by Mike Stone in New York and Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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