Hyatt May Acquire Hotel Group To Grow In Europe

Hyatt May Acquire Hotel Group To Grow In Europe

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It looks like Hyatt might be looking to expand in Europe through acquisition, but what could that look like?

Hyatt’s European growth goals

As noted by Skift, Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian indicated during an investor call yesterday that the company is hoping to grow:

“We feel that we’ve come through the pandemic and [are] now into recovery mode at a healthy clip with respect to earnings and cashflow. As always, growing the company in a very deliberate, strategic way is our top priority.”

Everything suggests this growth being aimed at Europe, and being done in the form of acquiring an existing brand, rather than just hoping to sign management agreements with individual hotels. Hyatt was focused on growing in Europe pre-pandemic, but understandably those plans were put on hold. Now that things are starting to improve, Hyatt is hoping to pick up where it left off.

Why Europe over Asia, for example? Hoplamazian states that the company sees more franchise growth opportunities in Europe than Asia, since Asia is “not a very penetrable franchise market.”

Hyatt’s last major growth was when the company acquired Two Roads Hospitality in 2018, which has brought us awesome brands like Alila, Thompson, and more.

Hyatt acquired Two Roads Hospitality in 2018, bringing us Alila

What hotel group could Hyatt acquire?

A few things to note upfront:

  • Just because Hyatt is considering acquiring another hotel group doesn’t actually mean it’s going to happen; after all, it takes two parties to make a deal, and the price has to be right
  • At least the rumors here are centering around Hyatt acquiring another company, rather than Hyatt being acquired by another company; I’d hate to see the latter happen, since the implications for World of Hyatt wouldn’t be good
  • Hyatt has a phenomenal partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), opening up all kinds of hotels in Europe; however, there are no acquisition opportunities here, since SLH is just a marketing company, rather than a hotel management company
Canaves Oia Epitome Santorini, an SLH property

With that in mind, which existing hotel groups could Hyatt possibly acquire? Off the top of my head, I have a few thoughts:

  • Accor, IHG, and Radisson, all have a huge presence in Europe, though I think that’s probably too big/costly of a purchase for Hyatt right now, and not exactly what the company’s looking for
  • Rocco Forte has about a dozen luxury hotels in Europe; Rocco Forte has a complementary footprint to Hyatt, as the group has five-star hotels where Hyatt doesn’t
  • Kempinski has 75+ hotels, mostly in Europe, though also in Africa and the Middle East, and the portfolio is also very complementary to Hyatt’s; these are also almost all luxury hotels
  • Scandic is a hotel group based in Sweden that has 250+ hotels, primarily in Northern Europe; this would definitely help Hyatt grow in Europe, though more in the mid-range rather than luxury market
  • Melia is a hotel group based in Spain with 350+ hotels, mostly in Europe, though also elsewhere; this could be an interesting acquisition target
Villa Kenney Frankfurt, a Rocco Forte hotel

Personally I would love to see Hyatt acquire Rocco Forte or Kempinski (in that order). That’s because I appreciate when luxury hotels join major hotel programs, since it’s a way to get great value and perks. That being said, realistically I suspect Hyatt is probably looking more at the mid-range and limited service market, which is where Hyatt’s presence is still quite small, compared to competitors. But that won’t stop me from hoping/dreaming.

Bottom line

Hyatt is looking to grow in Europe, and the company seems to be exploring the possibility of acquiring an existing European hotel group. While this is nowhere close to a sure bet, it seems like there are a few potentially good fits.

While Hyatt’s “managed” footprint in Europe is quite small as of now, personally I’ve found the SLH partnership to be really useful, and to largely make up for other shortcomings. More properties would be a good thing, as long as it doesn’t impact the existing SLH partnership.

What hotel group could you see Hyatt acquiring in Europe?

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  1. Roamingredcoat

    Financial Times: Hyatt to buy resorts operator Apple Leisure Group for $2.7bn.
    https://www.ft.com/content/1c74d112-8cb5-4732-b45b-90cf0015cf25

  2. ChrisC

    They don't need to buy another chain to grow.

    I was staying at a HI this weekent in the UK.

    At reception was a notice saying 'owned by XXX investment company and operated by YYY as a franchise of IHG'

    Hyatt could to be talking to these investment companies and make them offers to switch.

  3. Geezer Ed

    Louvre Group might be in play. It operates a spectrum of brands, from Golden Tulip to Kyriad, Campanille, and Premiere Class.

    1. Christian

      Thy are owned by Jinjiang as I said before.

  4. Super

    Honestly I don't see another Hyatt acquisition going well for World of Hyatt. Someone has to pay for these expensive additions...

  5. Rory

    Given how badly the Forte family took the hostile takeover of their original hotel group (which, through various mergers, now makes up a chunk of IHG), I can't see them selling RF.

  6. khatl

    Melia, as has a solid south american and africa footprint, as well as Europe

  7. Stuart

    Rocco Forte for sure. He is getting older at 76 now and I imagine this has to be in the cards for future planning. They have a strong luxury brand recognition in Europe and some fantastic properties with a good potential for further growth. Hyatt seems to prefer grabbing these smaller well positioned brands (like Alilla and Thompson) so this is a real possibility and would make me very happy.

  8. Alan

    I never even think of Hyatt as their existing footprint here in Europe is so poor - all really pricey properties too so I'm not sure just staying high end would be a good idea. The points earning opportunities are also abysmal with no affiliate credit card (or even Amex MR deals) and the lack of cheaper properties makes status acquisition very expense.

    1. bhcompy

      Their footprint in the US isn't all that great, either. They need to pick a lane and make it work before they go doing stuff like this

  9. Roland Culé

    I'd say Minor Hotels (NH, Anantara, etc.) or Louvre Hotels (Golden Tulip, Kyriad, Campanile) or Radisson are the most likely and possibly only hotel groups they could target.

    1. Christian

      I thought Louvre is part of the Jinjiang Group out of China which also owns Radisson..

    2. Ski

      Here is a thought and some speculative crystal ball gazing at the Jin jhiang group. A blurb about the group’s financials from Simplywall.st:

      ‘Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Shanghai Jin Jiang Capital had liabilities of CN¥14.1b due within 12 months and liabilities of CN¥27.8b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had CN¥9.82b in cash and CN¥2.91b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities...

      Here is a thought and some speculative crystal ball gazing at the Jin jhiang group. A blurb about the group’s financials from Simplywall.st:

      ‘Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Shanghai Jin Jiang Capital had liabilities of CN¥14.1b due within 12 months and liabilities of CN¥27.8b due beyond that. Offsetting this, it had CN¥9.82b in cash and CN¥2.91b in receivables that were due within 12 months. So it has liabilities totalling CN¥29.1b more than its cash and near-term receivables, combined.

      This deficit casts a shadow over the CN¥8.42b company, like a colossus towering over mere mortals. So we definitely think shareholders need to watch this one closely. At the end of the day, Shanghai Jin Jiang Capital would probably need a major re-capitalization if its creditors were to demand repayment‘

      Wonder if they will look to sell these assets to pare debt.

  10. NH

    I agree that NH immediately jumped to my mind

  11. Evan

    In addition to an acquisition I would love to see more of the SLH hotels join the Hyatt agreement. Whats the main factor holding some of the other SLH hotels back (presumably they have low occupancy and/or don't think they could raise prices enough to offset whatever Hyatt charges? Or is there some other contractual reason I'm missing? It feels like they're picking up more every few months but I can't tell if they've lost...

    In addition to an acquisition I would love to see more of the SLH hotels join the Hyatt agreement. Whats the main factor holding some of the other SLH hotels back (presumably they have low occupancy and/or don't think they could raise prices enough to offset whatever Hyatt charges? Or is there some other contractual reason I'm missing? It feels like they're picking up more every few months but I can't tell if they've lost any?

    Most of my stays at these have been before hitting Globalist, but I'm interested to see how a few honor upgrades (especially shoulder season when theres a few types of rooms they could choose to upgrade me to).

  12. Christian

    What about NH out of Spain?

  13. Happy Flyer

    I hope they would not purchase Radisson. Radisson in the U.S. is horrible, IMO. This would lower Hyatt's great reputation. I would like to see them purchase at the higher end first, then look at what's feasible in the mid-range to acquire that falls more in line with Hyatt's vision for itself.

  14. Nathan

    A Hyatt/scandic partnership would be so nice. There aren’t a ton of options for US customers to use points in the Nordic countries outside the really big cities and scandic has some nice properties in places like Lapland and the Arctic north. being able to use Hyatt points in Oslo or Copenhagen would be wonderful too

  15. Ed

    Might they want to grow their limited service offering in Europe? B&B hotels would be an interesting acquisition, very strong in france and Germany and growing everywhere else. Less exciting but a massive footprint in limited service all in one go.

  16. FNT Delta Diamond

    If you accurately reported the CEO's comments about franchises then Scandic or Radisson is presumably the most likely acquisition. I am almost 100% certain that Kempinski and Rocco Forte do not franchise hotels.

    Of Scandic's 268 properties, 244 are franchised or otherwise licensed in some way, shape or form. Scandic has a very strong portfolio in the Nordic countries, as does Radisson. Labor costs are extremely high in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. So it's...

    If you accurately reported the CEO's comments about franchises then Scandic or Radisson is presumably the most likely acquisition. I am almost 100% certain that Kempinski and Rocco Forte do not franchise hotels.

    Of Scandic's 268 properties, 244 are franchised or otherwise licensed in some way, shape or form. Scandic has a very strong portfolio in the Nordic countries, as does Radisson. Labor costs are extremely high in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. So it's very, very expensive for full-service hotels, let alone upscale or luxury hotels, to do business.

    Radisson would be interesting if Hyatt just outright bought it. Not only because Radisson's full-service brands are very strong outside North America, but also because the limited-service Country Inn & Suites brand would significantly enlarge Hyatt's footprint in the United States. These are franchised properties.

    1. Klavs

      I would say that Scandic could be a good guess. As it would fill in a fair amount of gaps in there European network. They have hotel all over Scandinavia and some select hotels in Germany and Poland. But they are strictly a mid-level hotels.
      On a similar note Nordic choice hotels might also be on the cards. It is like Scandic with it presence in the Scandinavia region. At the same time there...

      I would say that Scandic could be a good guess. As it would fill in a fair amount of gaps in there European network. They have hotel all over Scandinavia and some select hotels in Germany and Poland. But they are strictly a mid-level hotels.
      On a similar note Nordic choice hotels might also be on the cards. It is like Scandic with it presence in the Scandinavia region. At the same time there hotels are of a highly higher caliber and they command a better price in the market. They also have some luxury offerings. There has been some talk of the owner having financial problems after the awful year that has been 2020 and 2021. Of course that would have problem with having to have a full rebrand. At the same time the properties are exceptional.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond

      I forgot about Nordic Choice. They have a weird relationship with Choice in North America. The Choice hotels in the Nordic countries are actually quite nice. I would never stay in a Choice hotel in the US.

    3. Klavs

      There might be some negotiations happening Between Nordic Choice and Choice USA. As there is an interesting lack of award rooms after august in almost all of Nordic Choice hotels. Nordic Choice would be a great target, but having to rebrand everything most likely isn't something they are looking for. If they are looking for a many hotels but few brands. They might only have Scandic to look at in Europe. A lot of other...

      There might be some negotiations happening Between Nordic Choice and Choice USA. As there is an interesting lack of award rooms after august in almost all of Nordic Choice hotels. Nordic Choice would be a great target, but having to rebrand everything most likely isn't something they are looking for. If they are looking for a many hotels but few brands. They might only have Scandic to look at in Europe. A lot of other groups have half a dozen or more brands. I don't think that Hyatt wants to do a marriott and have too many brands.

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Roamingredcoat

Financial Times: Hyatt to buy resorts operator Apple Leisure Group for $2.7bn. https://www.ft.com/content/1c74d112-8cb5-4732-b45b-90cf0015cf25

ChrisC

They don't need to buy another chain to grow. I was staying at a HI this weekent in the UK. At reception was a notice saying 'owned by XXX investment company and operated by YYY as a franchise of IHG' Hyatt could to be talking to these investment companies and make them offers to switch.

Christian

Thy are owned by Jinjiang as I said before.

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