Boutique chain gets closer to £120m deal for Starwood hotels

Boutique hotel chain Hand Picked Hotels is close to signing a £120m deal to secure the purchase of 15 hotels from Starwood Capital.

The group, run by Julia Hands, wife of private equity tycoon Guy Hands, is bidding to buy a selection of De Vere Hotels, Principal Hayley and Four Pillars, which went on the market with Christie + Co in February.

The 15 hotels are four shy of the original offer proposed by Starwood, known as Project Milan. It has been reported that Hands is in negotiations for a new deal that would see Starwood keep four of the properties in the first offer, along with the remaining 16 Principal Hayley and 12 De Vere Hotels still on the market.

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The 15 hotels being sold comprise 1,460 bedrooms.

If the deal goes through it will take the total Hand Picked Hotels portfolio up to 36 properties across the UK and mark the largest acquisition undertaken by the boutique chain since its inception in 1999. It would also be the first move since the purchase of 123-bed Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa in St Helier last year for £15m.

The news also emerged after the company’s latest financial results for the year ended November 28 2013, showed turnover fell from £59.9m to £58.1m, while pre-tax losses increased from £6.9m to £9.1m.



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