Blackstone to sell stake in Hilton

Private equity firm to generate $1.3bn with sale

After holding an interest in Hilton Worldwide Holdings for nearly 11 years, private equity firm Blackstone Group has decided to exit the hotel chain operator by selling its 5.8 percent stake. The sale of 15.8 million shares would generate about $1.32 billion (€1.1 billion), based on Hilton's Thursday close at $83.30. Hilton said on Friday it will not receive any proceeds from the sale and would repurchase about 1.3 million shares from the shareholders affiliated to Blackstone.

Blackstone, which took the Virginia-based company public in 2013, started shedding its stake a year later. In June and November, 2014, Blackstone raised $2.33 billion and $2.59 billion, respectively, from stock sales that progressively reduced its stake in Hilton.

Blackstone cut its stake to under 50 per cent in a $2.69 billion stock sale in 2015, which was then termed as the biggest ever selldown by a private equity sponsor through a block trade.

Blackstone usually buys hotels and other real estate holdings at a discount, fixes them and sells for a profit. The private equity firm had taken Hilton private in a $26 billion leveraged buyout in 2007.


In 2016, Blackstone agreed to sell a 25 percent stake in Hilton to China’s HNA Group for $6.5 billion, three times what it paid in 2007. HNA, the heavily indebted aviation-to-financials conglomerate, sold the stake about a year and a half later as part of its plan to shed assets and tackle a cash crunch.

Up to Thursday’s close, Hilton’s shares had risen about 36 percent in the last year. They were nearly flat at $83.35 in premarket trading on Friday.

- Reuters