Just over two years ago it was announced that HNA Group would be acquiring a majority stake in Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (which has since been rebranded as Radisson). This was at a time when HNA Group seemed to be on a buying spree, as they bought all kinds of businesses, including many in the travel industry.
Unfortunately HNA Group has racked up huge debt after all of the investing they did, so they’ve been trying to sell assets as much as possible. It looks like Radisson may be the next asset that they’re looking to offload.
Bloomberg reports that HNA Group is exploring a sale of Radisson Hotel Group, according to people familiar with the matter. They’ve allegedly been gauging interest from rival hotel chains and other potential buyers. It remains to be seen if this will lead to a sale or not, though it looks like it’s very much being explored.
Radisson has more than 1,400 hotels around the world, across eight different brands. In the US they have mostly limited service properties (though they’re trying to change their image in the US by adding more full service properties), and they also have a huge portfolio of hotels in Europe, which is where they’re strongest.
We’ve seen a lot of consolidation in the hotel industry in the past several years, as Marriott has acquired Starwood, IHG has acquired Kimpton, Accor has acquired Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel, and more.
Given all of this consolidation, I’d say Hyatt as a brand has largely been left behind. They haven’t been part of any of this major consolidation, and most of their newly opened properties are limited service. So if there were a hotel brand that would be interested in Radisson, Hyatt is the first that comes to mind, as it could roughly triple their number of properties overnight.
Now, personally I don’t think Radisson’s properties are a great fit for the Hyatt portfolio. But these mergers aren’t always logical in terms of how complementary brands are to one another (just look at Alaska and Virgin America). Sometimes it’s just about market share.
The other possibility that comes to mind is Accor taking over Radisson. Their portfolios seem better suited for one another, though on the other hand that also means they have a lot of overlap.
I’ll be curious to see how this plays out. Given HNA’s financial struggles I imagine they’re going to have to sell here, so the question is whether Radisson is taken over by another hotel company, or if they’ll just find outside investors.
Is there a hotel brand that you’d like to see take over Radisson?
(Tip of the hat to @dw_bk)